Steph Curry is Golden State’s “Golden Boy,” but Draymond Green is undoubtedly the heart and soul of this Warriors dynasty. He is the locker room voice and presence, he is tough as nails, and serves sort of an enforcer role on the court as well.
He is an elite defender, and an outstanding playmaker, boasting one of the highest basketball IQs in the game right now. But on Tuesday night, after an upsetting loss to the Orlando Magic, he didn’t require much thinking to say what he said about his team and the Magic.
“I think we’re playing soft, we’re playing stupid,” Draymond said after that 94-90 loss to the Magic. “We’re just not playing good basketball, and we’re getting punked, it’s hard to win a game getting punked.” Draymond went on. He then specifies what he feels is the reason for the recent losses they’ve taken, saying, “We’re losing a lot of fourth quarters, we’re not really losing the game, just the fourth quarter.”
He was very vocal about that part, but nothing struck ears as hard as when Draymond said, “No disrespect to the Orlando Magic, but that’s one of the worst teams in the league.” He felt that if the Warriors as a team cannot match up with Orlando they shouldn’t expect to match up with one of the better teams in the league.
The Magic have the worst record in the NBA (20-54), so the loss was definitely embarrassing, even without Stephen Curry, who is out indefinitely nursing a left foot injury after being rolled on by Celtics guard Marcus Smart.
The NBA season is an 82-game marathon and not a race. Draymond has been a part of three championships, and as the emotional leader he knows what buttons to push, no matter how harsh it may sound.
The night after Green’s evisceration of his team’s effort, the role players, who needed to step up with the Splash Brothers and Draymond on the sidelines, defeated the best team in the Eastern Conference 118-104. The win over the Heat was a signature win for Steve Kerr’s “supporting cast”.
Jordan Poole, who has been pushed to the bench since the return of Klay Thompson, scored 30 points and hit seven threes. Youngsters Jonathan Kuminga, Damion Lee and vet Andrew Wiggins all chipped in 22 points. Kevon Looney continues to develop, grabbing 16 rebounds.
Team in blue had a night down in Miami. You love to see it!!! #DubNation
— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) March 24, 2022
The Warriors have a bright future, that much is evident. Whatever reaction Green was searching for, his tactics seem to have worked. Young ballers don’t like hearing somebody say they got punked. It’s offensive to their developing manhood. It was a direct challenge to the team and the young core responded.
Now what seems like misdirected anger and insults toward the rebuilding Magic turns out to have been motivation for Dub Nation as GS tries to scrape together wins without Curry and position itself with good seeding in the playoff bracket.
The Warriors are currently 48-25 and are the third seed in the West and will be looking to compete for another title come playoff time. Maybe Draymond hit the right nerve in his unique way, and that’s why his value goes beyond the stats.