“I love him. I love him.”
Jerry West doesn’t say this about many players, especially second round picks from Saginaw, Michigan. But for third-year player Draymond Green, just add it to the growing list of accomplishments that has cemented himself as a key piece of a franchise-best Golden State Warriors team.
Graduating from the school of Tom Izzo and Michigan State basketball, Green carries the same intensity that made him a staple at his former university. He didn’t come into the league the perfect player, no one does. But the work ethic that made Green an invaluable Spartan has suddenly made him an invaluable Warrior.
The fact that Green was drafted a Warrior is fitting, as the forward has proven his worth at multiple positions on both ends of the floor in any situation that has come his way. This season, David Lee has been nursing a hamstring injury, so naturally, Green slid into the starting role and is posting career high numbers across the board because of it.
At 24, Green might be the youngest veteran in the league. Now under the tutelage of Steve Kerr, the opportunities are there to show that he can not only continue to defend at a high level, but help this offense become the most efficient in the league as well. That might be a lot to ask of a 24 year-old on a team with championship aspirations, but not Green.
I sat down with Green this week to discuss those very championship aspirations, the new system in place under Kerr, what being called the “heartbeat” of the team means to him and much more. As has become routine throughout his young career, Green was money.
This is definitely fun, winning is fun. We use to always say in college, ‘winning cures all.’ If something goes wrong or if times are bad, ‘winning cures all.’ Winning is always fun, being 15-2, we’re tied for the best record in the league. You know that’s always great, especially with everything that is going on with a brand new system and everybody learning the system, a year with a start like that says a lot.
Speaking of the new system, were there any doubts that after all the success the team has built over the last couple of seasons that it might start out pretty slow or might not click immediately?
No, I don’t think there was never any doubt because at the end of the day, our core now has been together for three years. We’ve grown together. You know where each other are going to be on the floor, you know defensively what someone is going to do, you just kind of figure each other out. I think knowing that we always knew that we just know each other and we can always play off of instincts. You know throughout the course of Coach Kerr’s offense, its’ a lot of instinct, it’s flow, it’s rhythm, I see here, I go there. So I think it helps a lot that these core guys have been together for three years now.
How much of this system is new? Is it really an entirely new system or is it something where it’s just perfecting and retooling things here and there?
What you realize is that a lot of teams in the NBA run the same stuff; a lot of teams. Nothing is usually really foreign. Obviously, there are a few different concepts with the flow and the movement but as far as the sets and stuff, nothing really gets foreign at this point.
What kind of concepts?
One thing Coach Kerr really likes is constant movement. If you get to a spot where the ball is stuck for two seconds, just move it. That’s one thing that he’s really emphasized for two months now, since we started training camp. So, if I had to say one thing, that would be the biggest change is he really, really, really emphasizes ball movement.