Anyone who remotely enjoys basketball can appreciate what the Golden State Warriors have done over the past 4-5 years. From the hard core fans to the bandwagoners alike, people enjoy watching the Warriors.
They just make basketball look damn fun.
Through the Warriors’ relatively recent run of success after being crowned champs in 2015 and breaking the record for wins in 2016, the number of Curry and Thompson jerseys you spot around the state of California (not just in the bay) have ballooned to epic proportions, and this does not bother me one bit. It actually feels awfully sweet.
Remember that we were rooting for a team for years where the only exciting thing happening in Oakland was that we had the back-to-back slam dunk champion (pre slam dunk contest turning into a Hollywood performance). It’s a nice change of scenery to see how the Warriors’ fan base has grown.
The average fan sees the Warriors success and immediately correlates it with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and more recently Kevin Durant. Don’t get me wrong, these guys are legends and have been driving forces behind that success, but us Warrior fans that watched this historic team bloom closely know that much of this success needs to be attributed to a lesser-known, but overly outspoken player.
Let me introduce you to Draymond Green.
Who is Draymond Green you ask? You may know him for his knack for picking up technical fouls, expert snapchatting skills, or the odd tendency for his feet to meet the groin section of opposing players, but behind the trash talk and antics is one of those once-in-a-decade NBA players who is far more motivated by winning than filling a stat sheet.
If he’s not on your team, you hate him. If he’s on your team, you love him. However, at the end of the day, he simply plays winning basketball.
Whether it’s diving for a loose ball, sliding over on help defense, boxing out a defender, or making the right pass at the right time, he does the dirty work that doesn’t get highlights on ESPN. Any avid Warriors fan knows this.
Even future NBA hall of famer Paul Pierce told Draymond (who started the trash talk) basically that he’s only good because he’s surrounded by good players. Pierce doesn’t get it either. Can someone tell this man that maybe the players on the court with Draymond are better because they are on the floor with him?
Draymond recently had a game that epitomized his style of play. He became the first player ever to record a triple double (double digits in three stat categories) without points. In a year where fans have become numb to a triple double due to the ball-hogging play of Russell Westbrook and James Harden, this performance may have gotten less attention than it deserved.
On February 10th of this year, Green tallied this outrageous stat line: 12 rebounds, 10 assists, 10 steals, and 5 blocks.
This was the first time that this has ever been done, and it doesn’t surprise me one bit that Draymond was the man to go down in the history books.
As expected, with the addition of superstar Kevin Durant to the Warriors this year, Draymond’s scoring has dropped by nearly two points from last year. He doesn’t mind. He has embraced his slightly new role on the team and stepped up in other ways. In the regular season he led the league with 2 steals per game, jumped into the top 10 in assists, and was second in the league in point differential while he was on the floor (second only to his teammate Steph Curry), all while playing three minutes less per game than he did last year.
I could go deep into NBA stats that 99% of the people reading my blog won’t understand, but I don’t want to bore you. The point is, if you aren’t aware of Draymond’s greatness, next time you happen to be watching a Warriors’ game, keep an eye on this man. Watch him when he’s off the ball, playing defense, or dishing dimes off the pick and roll.
You will learn to appreciate him like I have been for years now.
My brother (twin) recently got me a Warriors jersey for my (our) birthday. He didn’t get me another Curry jersey to blend in with the crowd at Coachella. He hit the nail on the head and got me a Draymond Green jersey, one that I am looking forward to wearing as the Warriors pursue their second NBA championship in three years come June.
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