There are two of them now. And if the NBA was just catching up and solving the riddle that was the MVP-led Stephen Curry Warriors last season, they have another entirely different labyrinth thrown at them this time around. Even in their greatest moments of the 73-win, rough-and-tumble postseason, when Warriors were led by Curry’s consistent brilliance buoyed Klay Thompson’s spectacular flashes and Draymond Green’s breakout, there was nothing like this. Nothing like Stephen Curry doubled, but in the form of a darker skinned 7-footer.
Durant started the final preseason game at Oracle Arena (another wildly raucous crowd) cold, missing tough shots amongst other open ones. As the Warriors fell deeper into a hole, Steve Kerr eschewed against his normal rest of KD at the 6-minute mark and decided to go small almost immediately. It was a preseason game in the standings but a regular season one in terms of experimentation and urgency. From there, Durant got comfortable doing what he does, nearly mimicking every single of Stephen Curry’s buckets, almost as if a game of HORSE had broken out in downtown Oakland.
By the time the onslaught ended, the Blazers found them up 16 to down 20+ and there was a stilted defeat in their movements. They weren’t frustrated. It’s the un-enviable body language of a person that understands they are undermanned. There are no such answers, at least not right now, for the Warriors. Their defense took an entire half off. Their offense still looks ungreased as the turnovers keep creeping up and the overpassing remains a slightly comedic issue. And yet, like last season, it only takes 5-6 minutes for the Warriors to kick a game into overdrive. It’s just this time around, they happen to have two guys that are able to handle and score in a way never before seen, much less on the same team.
I don’t want to bore with game-by-game minutiae as lots of the time this regular season, some will just run into another as the Warriors slog their way through another victory. Instead, here are some thoughts on Ethan Strauss’ Draymond piece.
These issues were persistent and known through most of last season. It didn’t rear its ugly head until Draymond’s explosion in Oklahoma (which he apologized and fined himself for) and his suspension in the NBA Finals (deserved given the rest of his fouls in the postseason). There is the argument that the Warriors would not be where they are without Draymond. There is also the side where they would have been back-to-back champions if someone could control him. Both sides are correct, to an extent.
Draymond is the smartest player on the team, behind maybe Andre Iguodala. Everything in the piece, while sourced accurately, doesn’t necessarily cause much concern beyond the notion that if Draymond is going to head down this scary path, the Warriors are dismantled. But what’s this scary path?
That he gets into practice fights with teammates? That he snaps while driving? That he parties too much? That he sends too many nudes? That he leaves too many bikes in the sauna? Or that he is ultimately uncontrollable unlike his mild-mannered stars like Klay, KD, and Steph? There is almost certainly more stories from where the piece came from, though to no fault of Ethan as they were cut out. But unless there’s some type of Josh Brown, Robert Swift, type of behavior that we are not privy to, the type of Draymond Green we’re getting at this moment is in no danger to the budding dynasty they’re creating.
And finally, there are seasoned journalists like Tim Kawakami who have covered the MJ Bulls and others through the darkest GSW days that are not worried about this. Again, I would hesitate to say this isn’t an issue. But I would note that the reaction to what this can or might be is more telling of the person saying it than the person writing it.