How is Draymond Green doing?
For a third straight year, Draymond Green has been selected to the All-Star Game to much, including my, chagrin. Not to say that he doesn’t deserve it, or that I think he hasn’t played like an All-Star, he has. My concern is the lack of downtime All-Star weekend can provide to any player that gets to play in it. Just watch first trip to the ASG in Toronto in 2016.
One of my biggest questions for Green is how healthy he really is? It’s seemed like he’s been wearing his undershirt for more than half the season. Here and there he looks physically disgruntled, and I justwonder why he doesn’t take some games off to make sure everything’s good. He’s also been wearing an electric stimulator on his back whenever he’s on the bench, and having used one myself in physical therapy, it’s a clear sign that his back isn’t in the best shape either.
It’s clear that Green is taking it upon himself to be ready to play. While the Dubs have shown that they’re happy to rest players for games at a time, Green could probably use some. In an interview with The Athletic, Green said, “What we start? 4-3. I knew all three of those losses were 100 percent my fault. I just wasn’t locked into the game. It’s just like if KD comes out and he can’t score, or if Steph comes out and he can’t score. It hurts because that’s their job. It’s my job to bring that emotion, to bring that fire and I wasn’t.”
It’s an interesting response Draymond though. Green is the quarterback of their defense, and a coach on the floor. If you ever catch a game where Draymond isn’t playing, you’ll be in for a sloppy game on both ends. Even if Green doesn’t have the best outing, he’s going to snap the other guys into shape.
In their Dec. 23 loss to the Nuggets, Draymond berated Klay all the way to the bench after a questionable shot in the 3rd quarter. When asked about Draymond's reaction, Klay said “I don’t mind him getting on me… I hope he does it next time as well.” This is a clear sign of the respect Green gets from his teammates, and it’s built on being right most of the time. Without Green on the floor, there isn’t another player or coach holding the team accountable in moments like that.
As a Draymond stan, something I’ve yearned for this season are Green’s monumental defensive plays, whether it’s diving for a loose ball to start the break or making a game changing block. Instead, Durant has been the one with defensive highlights, and subsequently getting Defensive Player of the Year buzz. Give KD credit for stepping up his aggression, but it’s also due to Draymond's lack of physical aggression.
But Draymond could just be changing as a person. He’s been avoiding technical fouls, and keeping his emotions in check. His choice in music has started to shift as well, listening to slow jams and 80s funk pre-game, and even using it to focus throughout the game.
Every new season though, players try to come in with a new aspect in their game. For Green, it’s been maturation, and trying to find the balance between aggression and poise. For a 2nd round pick who’s had to ride the chip on his shoulder to get to where he’s gotten, it’s a big step to change those ways. Green is an established player in this league, a 3-time All-Star, and a DPOY. He doesn’t have to put in the same work he did to get here. But Draymond lives by his own standards, and those standards are the most high.