Is Draymond Still a Leader?


The NBA is now in the deep depths of the offseason.

Summer League is over and most players are going through their usual offseason routines. Free agency is mostly figured out aside from the moves that will happen if Damian Lillard or James Harden get traded soon. The talking points surrounding those pending moves are pretty much dead.

But if there is one player to count on to always give polarizing quotes to get you nervous about next season, it’s Draymond Green.

The Double-Edged Sword

Throughout Draymond’s career with the Warriors, he has been unapologetically outspoken.

It does not matter what topic it could be about— he will always say what’s on his mind. Unfortunately, this quality has been a weakness as much as it has been a strength. The fiery passion and competitiveness that fuels him on the court are the same things that get him into trouble. The actions that have caused a lot of chatter have come within this offseason, stemming from last year’s infamous incident with Jordan Poole during training camp.

This is the same player who got suspended in the 2016 Finals for his altercation with LeBron James in Game 4, in which the Warriors won to go up 3-1. We all know what proceeded to happen for the next three games of that series.

Channing Frye recently admitted that the entire team tried to bait Green throughout the series. It’s funny looking back at this clip now, considering the two players are known to have a very close friendship. One could assume this bond started after Green signed with Klutch Sports, but that could be saved for another time.

Unnecessary Drama

Recently, Green had multiple quotes and tweets that got a lot of the NBA community riled up. All in one random summer morning, his actions dominated the NBA Twitter news cycle. Firstly, it all started when an episode of Patrick Beverley‘s podcast dropped that featured Green. The clip that started to swirl included Green talking about the “reason” he reacted to Poole getting in his face.

Green says, “Ain’t nobody on my team triggering me in an instant.”

Overall, it’s a vague explanation on why he chose to sucker punch Poole. Later that night, Poole’s father responded to that tweet with his own take on the situation. Green later responded to Poole’s father the next morning.

Poole’s father has a right to be upset at Green. That incident quickly became an unavoidable topic surrounding the team for the entire season, and it was considerably more embarrassing for Poole.

Furthermore, the Warriors made it abundantly clear that they did not want to punish Green publicly by not suspending him from any games. This interaction between Green and Poole’s father opened the door for more scrutiny on Green’s recent behavior.

Lastly, that same morning included a bonus interaction with former NBA star, Kevin Garnett. Green fell for a Tweet from a Twitter account (@TheNBACentel) dedicated to spread fake news. Garnett took the high road and blamed Elon Musk for what the social-media app is capable of.

It was an eventful morning for Green’s PR team, to say the least.

The Effect on Other Players

When Green is a guest on a podcast, there definitely won’t be just one interesting quote from the interview. There were other statements that raised some eyebrows, including one about one of his newest teammates, Chris Paul. Green answered a question about his thoughts on the Warriors trading for Paul, saying that there is still some tension between Paul and him.

It could be a case of overanalyzing a quote from a podcast, but it sure does not seem necessary to talk about not liking a player who is now your teammate. Both Green and Paul are elite competitors. The simple, mundane answer would be to convey how excited he is to play with Paul. Nothing else would have been brought up about it, nor would it be another headline in an already quiet NBA offseason.

What is Green’s Definition of Leadership?

All of these quotes triggered talking points surrounding Green and his leadership off the court. A couple weeks prior to the clip on The Pat Bev Podcast, Green talked about his leadership struggles on Paul George‘s podcast.

The snowball kept rolling with NBC Sports Bay Area reporter, Monte Poole, and his interview with 95.7 The Game, the leading sports radio station in the Bay Area.

Especially with the Warriors having six players younger than 24 on the team last year, Green’s actions split the locker room and made it harder for the team to build chemistry. Any team striving to win a championship has to build that comradery from the very beginning of training camp.

Kuminga is entering a critical year for his development and standing with the team. He was already reportedly unhappy with his role in their disappointing playoff run this past season. Green publicly admitting he had trouble being a leader for Kuminga does not help anyone, and only creates more questions about how he will bounce back and improve his leadership as a veteran.

A Season for Redemption

Draymond signed a four-year, $100 million extension to stay on the Warriors for presumably the rest of his career. Fans should not expect that Green is going to dramatically change his approach to be less polarizing off the court. What they should be hopeful about is that Green still has that magic he showed throughout the years of the beginning of the Warriors’ dynasty.

The roster situation is a lot different than last year, and he does not have to worry about fighting for his next contract. He is still surrounded by his most trusted colleagues in Steve Kerr, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The window for the Warriors to win as much as they can before the main core rides off into the sunset starts this upcoming season.

The current roster is much older and has more veterans. Jordan Poole is now on another team, ready to take that next step as a budding star. An older roster does not automatically mean they will be better suited to play with (or deal with) Draymond. It is now his turn to hold up his end of the bargain to help rebuild the Warriors culture they once knew.

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About Christian Oblena

Born in San Francisco, raised in the East Bay, lifelong Bay Area sports fan. Here to give my own opinions on everything Dubs.

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