They say that every championship team needs that grit and grime type of guy. The Bad Boy Detroit Pistons of back-to-back championship fame in the late '80s had several of them; Bill Laimbeer, young Dennis Rodman and Rick Mahorn. The Chicago Bulls had Rodman in his rock star prime, while Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace brought all the spirit and energy of Queensbridge with him in a gritty 2010 NBA Finals performance.
In an age of NBA friendships seemingly birthed and forged on the AAU circuit, Draymond Green's on-court demeanor is something of an anomaly. Various groin-kicking situations aside, Green's fire was integral in helping the Golden State Warriors win the NBA championship in 2015. However, if a recent report by ESPN The Magazine's Ethan Sherwood Strauss is correct, Draymond's antics started wearing on teammates last year.
(Photo Credit: Chicago Now)
Most NBA fans recall the highly publicized sideline incident between head coach Steve Kerr and Green because it was rebroadcast across the cable sports networks. We have seen his fiery nature, tenacious defense, and hardcore rebounding in the trenches. We've also witnessed the increasingly braggadocios vitriol that has become the norm when observing and reporting on Draymond Green.
But according to a quote that Sherwood attributes to former GSW forward Marresse Speights, the Draymond effect grew thin with teammates.
"Draymond f---ked up practice and s--t,'" then-Warriors center Speights is reported to have said. "Draymond's a good guy, but I think at the end of the day, it hurt the whole chemistry of the year."
Speights denied that he'd ever given that quote. But we don't need to resort to a game of "he said-he said'' to see that your boy Draymond has some anger management issues.
All you need to do is go back to last season to see his percolating outbursts.
According to recounted tales of the incident with Kerr, Green screamed "I am not a robot", then yells :"Motherf*****, come sit me down!'' when asked by the head coach to have a seat. Word is the Steph Curry and Klay Thompson had to step in between the two.
(Photo Credit: Larry Brown Sports)
And you do recall Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Finals, don't you?
With less than three minutes remaining in what would be a 108-97 Warriors victory, Green and LeBron James were tangled up. James then stepped over Green on his way up court. Green then swung his arm, which landed in LeBron's groin area. They immediately became involved in a chest-to-chest stand off.
Green was eventually suspended by the NBA for Game 5 due to his accumulation of flagrant fouls. The Cavaliers won that game and went on to win the series.
Though few on the Warriors roster would acknowledge it at the time, Draymond Green deserves a knucklehead's worth of blame for failing to contain himself. So, the story ends with the Cleveland Cavaliers becoming the first team in NBA history to be down 3 to 1 in the Championship, yet storm back to win the series
This season, Golden State is the odds on favorites win the NBA championship, due in large part to the acquisition of former league MVP Kevin Durant. And with their increased visibility of having a 73-win squad acquiring one of the best players in the games, expect the officials and NBA suits alike to monitor Green under a microscopic lens.
No more "accidental" ball kicking, no running up on coaches, no nonsense will be tolerated from him during this upcoming season.
His game is so versatile, so rugged, so Flint that you can't help but want to cheer for him. However, his shenanigans and demeanor make it extreme difficult to do so.
And things aren't starting off very well as far Green becoming less conspicuous with his actions. Check out the video and you be the judge:
He plays with heart and passion, but last year, he stepped over the line and it cost his team a championship. This year, it's official. Draymond Green is no longer being viewed for his versatility, shooting, passing and defensive prowess while being able to guard every position on the floor. Right now, he's the Bad Guy.