How I Fell out of Love with Draymond Green
Before the Spurs-Thunder series officially ended, I was talking myself into the Western Conference Finals. As someone who generally cheers for “the team who knocked out my team,” I was already looking for advantages the Thunder possessed over the Warriors. One was crystal clear: Draymond Green’s 4 technicals.
Draymond Green is someone I absolutely adored while we both were in college. Our senior years coincided and I remember following him as much as any non-Purdue, non-Iowa player/team throughout that 2011-’12 season. I rode so hard for Michigan State for reasons I’m not entirely sure of. Except for one: Draymond.
When he was drafted, I knew he would be a good player if he just had the chance. After two seasons passed, it was finally there: starting for Golden State after the David Lee injury. He never relinquished that starting role and became a two-way force. It was even more than I had envisioned. Banging bodies on defense, leading the point as a forward-sometimes-center, jawing to anyone who would listen (even when they wouldn’t). On their way to the NBA Championship, he had arrived.
But this year? He has become such a hyperbole of what I enjoyed so much during his college years. His passion now seemed to come from a place of anger and not the place of joy that I saw in college. It worked as they won 73 games and gained millions of fans.
But the brashness, and its consistency, was too much to keep rooting for him. Somehow, I found myself looking for faults in the player I hoped would have a team identify his strengths it seemed like only I knew. The irony was not lost on me.
When his technical situation was mentioned in Game 1, a quote from Steve Kerr, recited by TNT, made me chuckle: “I have no doubt he won’t get 7. I also have no doubt that he will get 5 and 6.” We all seemed to be on the same page: Oklahoma City was going to try to rile Green up.
To my surprise, the extracurriculars didn’t really seem to exist between Green and any Thunder player. He was hot, though, and went off on Ezeli in a way that is unbecoming of a leader. But I guess that is part of The Draymond Green Experience, now.
In Game 2, a Green quote trickled in during the broadcast: “I’m not going to take their bait.” Now I would pay special attention to the game within the game between Green and Oklahoma City’s main instigator: Steven Adams.
There was no bait through 3 quarters (all I could stand to watch), from my vantage point. Quite frankly, the only “bait” being tossed during the game was from the men in white. The “flexing” after “strong” takes to the hoop. A missed elbow followed by a knee to the groin complete with jawing. The standard cadre of expletives launched to refs, opponents, and no one in particular. The patented sprinting back milliseconds after Curry launches a three — complete with a look-down from Curry towards Ibaka after another failed contest.
Draymond’s fingerprints were all over this game, as they have been throughout the whole season. Heck, I’m not sure Curry would be the player he is without having a fire-starter like Green to help him reach an emotional boil.
Draymond Green is a star, deserving of all praise, and remains a model citizen. Yet somehow, I still find myself wishing for what he was.