Draymond Green calls notion of Warriors missing playoffs ‘crazy’
The Golden State Warriors underwent a series of changes to their roster this summer, most notably watching star forward Kevin Durant sign with the Brooklyn Nets. Aside from that, center DeMarcus Cousins (signed with Los Angeles Lakers), forward Andre Iguodala (traded to Memphis) and guard Shaun Livingston (waived) are no longer with the team.
Despite all those changes, though, Warriors forward still sees his group as a playoff team. To him, any notion that Golden State will be anything less than that come 2019-20 is sheer crazy talk.
“I’ve heard people say we’re not gonna make the playoffs. That’s crazy to me,” Green said in an interview with Rachel Nichols on ESPN’s “The Jump” on Wednesday.
“I mean, that’s just, like, that’s total disrespect, but no different than the disrespect we’ve all been getting for years.”
Las Vegas oddsmakers still have Golden State slated as a favorite to make the playoffs, but their odds to do so are decidedly lower than they were last year. To Green, that kind of doubt of his team is a fuel of sorts.
“I like it,” he said. “You know, being the underdog. It’s been a while since we been the underdog. But it brings that underdog chip back, and I miss that chip. I’m pretty sure Steph [Curry] missed that chip, and some of the stuff Klay [Thompson] been texting me this summer, I’m positive he misses the chip.
“… So to the oddsmakers, thanks. You got me where I am today. I look forward to where they take me again.”
Over the summer, the Warriors made sure Green did not leave for another team come next summer by inking him to a four-year extension worth nearly $100 million.
Thompson signed a five-year, $190 million extension with the Warriors last month, and Stephen Curry is under contract through the 2021-22 season, so three major pieces of the Warriors’ half-decade of success are now locked up for at least three more years.
“I think everybody thinks it’s kind of the end of us,” Green said in June, after the Warriors lost a six-game series to Toronto in the NBA Finals and saw their run of two straight titles come to an end. “But that’s just not smart. We’re not done yet. … But, yeah, I hear a lot of that noise, `It’s the end of a run’ and all that jazz. I don’t see it happening though. We’ll be back.”
The Warriors added All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell this summer, while losing the two-time NBA Finals MVP Durant to Brooklyn as well as parting way with Iguodala, Cousins and Livingston. So in many ways it will be a different Golden State team this coming season, when the five-time defending Western Conference champion begins playing its home games in the new Chase Center in San Francisco after moving from Oakland’s Oracle Arena.
“Our core – myself, Klay, Draymond, adding D’Angelo and a lot of hungry, young guys trying to prove themselves in the league – it will look different in terms of the lineups and things like that,” Curry said last month. “But the expectations of how we play and that championship-caliber basketball, that’s going to be for us always be the motivation and the challenge.”
Over the past five seasons, the Warriors have won 77% of their games, including playoffs – a total of 399 wins, 100 more than any other NBA team in that span.
Green has been an enormous part of that success.
He is one of the league’s elite defenders, a five-time All-NBA defensive team selection and the defensive player of the year in the 2016-17 season. Green, Curry and Thompson are the lone remaining Warriors players to have been on each of their last three NBA championship teams, in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
Green averaged 7.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game last season. Only four other NBA players – LeBron James, Ben Simmons, Nikola Jokic and Russell Westbrook – averaged at least that much in all of those stat categories.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.