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Draymond Green: Passionate or problematic?

Recent rumors and reports of locker room discord have come out about the player who is considered to be the heart of the Golden State Warriors.

Basketball - Olympics: Day 16 Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

In his story, “Golden State's Draymond Green problem,” ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood-Strauss pulled no punches in describing Draymond Green as both a major asset and a major liability to the Golden State Warriors.

The piece goes back to Green’s speech at the 2015 championship parade and paints a portrait from there of a growing ego and lack of accountability for his actions.

Strauss describes Green as a polarizing figure, on and off the court. He calls Green the key to the Warriors’ success. But he also implies that Green was the key to the team’s unraveling in the Finals, citing sources on the team that agree the team would not have lost if Green had not been suspended for Game 5.

If true, this seems like a lot of blame to put on one player for missing only one of the four games they ultimately lost, as there’s no way of knowing whether or not they would have won that game even with Green playing.

Strauss indicates that there is a hesitation on the part of the coaching staff and front office to check Green’s behavior because they don’t want to throw off his game. It is said that this has caused friction with other team members as well as with head coach Steve Kerr.

While Green and other current Warriors declined to comment, Strauss quotes Marreese Speights directly:

"Draymond f---ed up practice and s---," then-Warriors center Marreese Speights says. "Draymond's a good guy, but I think at the end of the day, it hurt the whole chemistry of the year." One player in particular, he says, took much of the heat: "Draymond and Klay got into it a lot." (Thompson declined to comment for this story.)

The problem with this, however, is that Speights has since indicated he never said these things:

Strauss portrays Green as somewhat of a bully — yelling at teammates and the coaching staff and doing whatever he wants, without reprimand.

He notes the incident during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 27th during which it was reported Green was yelling during halftime — reportedly needing to be held back by teammates. This was audibly witnessed and reported on during the game.

During games, players can oftentimes be seen sniping at each other. This doesn’t necessarily indicate a fundamental chemistry issue; it doesn’t necessarily mean anything at all. This is a high-pressure team, passions run high to match it, and Green is their leader.

It is mentioned throughout the piece that the organization believes Green’s passionate nature is what makes him such a valuable player on the court and why they are hesitant to put his behavior in check. But the question is, which behavior is that, specifically?

It seems as though Green is an easy target for this type of an assertion — a lot of it due to problems of his own making, as Strauss rightfully points out. But Green’s mistakes off the court seem irrelevant. His questionable social media choices and the incident in Lansing have no effect on his game, besides serving as a distraction.

If the allegations of Green bullying team members and the coaching staff are true, then the team would probably need to deal with that. However, without any direct quotes from the organization — and with Speights saying he was falsely quoted — it’s hard to know exactly what is really happening behind the scenes. Though one would assume Strauss has a bit more insight into that than the rest of us.

Green certainly does have an ego, and he is not shy about making his opinions heard. Does that make him a problem child that the Warriors are just indulging? Maybe.

But, also — maybe not.

In any case, the Warriors are standing behind Draymond Green, be it for better or for worse.