“You Wanna Win or You Wanna Go Home?”
By Andre Kidd
All season long Draymond Green has been the heart and soul of the Golden State Warriors. He is the vocal leader of an extremely talented squad, and even though he is not built to the standards of your typical starting NBA power forward, he plays with tenacity unmatched by 95% of players in the league. Most common fans look at Green’s stats and figure he’s an average in-between player, but if you’ve watched the Dub Nation in action as often as I have you’d understand the importance of contributions to the team. That’s why it’s so surprising to us that Green just hasn’t been playing like himself in the Western Conference Finals.
Green turned in an all-star and almost MVP-like season averaging 14 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game during the regular season. He racked up 13 triple doubles during the NBA season, (2nd only to Russell Westbrook) and solidified his place as one of the most versatile players in the league. However, Green probably gets most of his recognition for his defensive prowess and pit-bull aggressiveness. He only averaged a little over one steal and one block per game but most of his accomplishments can’t be recorded on a stat sheet. It’s his awareness, hustle, and general presence on the court that has the biggest impact on opposing offensive schemes. This has been acknowledged by his placement on this year’s NBA All-Defense Team. Draymond plays with a “never say die” attitude and always feels as though the Warriors are in a position to win.
Now look at the current Western Conference Finals series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Green’s numbers have dropped in this particular series to 11.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, and 4.0 apg, which is very atypical of him. But even more telling of his apparent collapse: is the intensity, or lack thereof. He hasn’t been hustling, he hasn’t been competing, and therefore he hasn’t been leading. He’s been very careless with the ball and been responsible for many sloppy turnovers. His presence on the floor has been quite frankly disappointing. Although, Stephen Curry is the best player on the team and reigning league MVP two years running, Draymond is the pulse of this machine called the Warriors. He needs to be great in order for them to pull off the unthinkable and come back from a 3–1 deficit in a 7-game series. The Warriors took a big step in that direction by winning game 5 and extending the series. Green looked more like his old self in that game logging 11 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 assists while being an imposing presence and making several momentum surging plays. For the Warriors to complete this history-making comeback, Green needs to do all of that and more. The Thunder has it ingrained in their heads that they are the better team. And for the majority of this series they have been. But the story isn’t finished. So, the question to Draymond Green and the rest of this Golden State Warriors squad is… Do you want to win or do you want to go home?