Warriors Draymond Green and Jordan Poole highlight strange NBA philosophies

Draymond Green has been in the news cycle more than he would like to be over the past year.

Wait, no, that’s not true. Draymond Green has been in the news cycle exactly as much as he wants to be over the past year, but not for the reasons he would like. Sure, there’s talk of his importance to the Golden State Warriors, his timeless elite defense, his recently signed big contract and his booming “new media” presence.

But the primary news cycle for Green over the past year has been about his violent response to Jordan Poole, his fractured relationship with the young players on the team, and how much those two things resulted in the Warriors following up a 53-win championship season with a 44-win second-round exit.

That news cycle isn’t dying down, and it won’t until the Warriors can prove it when Green has said publicly, and many more have said privately: that the chemistry issues that plagued last year’s team, and for which Green was largely responsible, will be resolved this year and will result in the team once again claiming the NBA throne.

For better or worse, Green does not shy away from this. The recent report from esteemed Warriors hit writer Monte Poole that Green’s non-relationship with Jonathan Kuminga is a “problem” hit pretty hard if you were new to the story. But if you’ve been hoarding Green content this offseason (and I certainly don’t blame you if you haven’t), you’ll know that this was an issue that Green had addressed publicly before Monte Poole’s report came out.

The green situation brings out a hard truth that we have a natural instinct to want to reconcile: the NBA, like life, is not fair. And the more we digest what has happened, the more we can be pointed in a healthy direction and remember something quite important: it’s OK.

Green’s relationship – or lack thereof – with Kuminga got the clicks, but the main part of Monte Poole’s report was about the fact that the young players at the Warriors, who had grown up hearing about their good management and culture, had cold (and probably spicy) water thrown in their faces when they saw one of the team’s core figures, who was his teammate for 10 years. It’s a hell of a pill to swallow.

If you include Poole, the Dubs had six young players at the time of the incident. Four of them – Poole, James Wiseman, Ryan Rollins and Patrick Baldwin Jr. – has since been replaced. Kuminga has heard his name floated in trade rumors, though admittedly so somewhat his own doing. The only one of the youngsters whose spot on the team is secure is Moses Moody, who also happens to be the only one of the six to publicly state his support and admiration for the Green post-punch (although I’d argue his spot is secure because of the corner he turned on the field).

I don’t think any of the four players were traded because of their relationship with Green, although that relationship is a big part of the chemistry issues Jordan Poole represented, which was at the heart of him being shipped. Still, it’s hard not to notice the staggering contrast we’ve seen so far. Wiseman was traded for a role player, and even when that role player turned out to be injured, the Dubs had no interest in undoing the trade. Poole was shipped off in a move that helped the Warriors save the money needed to keep Green. Rollins and Baldwin were casual additions.

And Green re-signed for four years within seconds of the free agency period beginning, being the very first free agency domino to fall — something I very much assume was by design.

You could see this build when Steph Curry and Klay Thompson competed in a nationally televised golf tournament against Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce the day before free agency began — a tournament Green worked as a sideline reporter. The legendary trio laughed and hammered away all day. They hugged and dabbed and chest bumped and screamed.

It’s not hyperbole to say that on an afternoon in late June on a Las Vegas golf course, the Warriors displayed more chemistry and good vibes than at any time since they hoisted a trophy nearly 12 months prior.

In the end, that’s all that matters. Curry may have pointed to Jordan Poole at the end of the season when asked the key to the Warriors’ continued success, but he knows no player on last year’s team is as important to helping him achieve his goal — his only goal — to raise another banner like Green is. Klay Thompson may praise the youngsters and take them on boat rides, but when it comes time to lace up his Antas, he looks for Curry and Green and plants his flag next to theirs. Steve Kerr may think Jordan Poole is endlessly talented and rave about James Wiseman’s ability to speak Mandarin, but it only took 20 minutes into the offseason for him to maintain, however emphatically, that the team could not win the 2024 championship without re-signing Green.

Jordan Poole clearly had some attitude issues that manifested in a fractured and irritated dressing room, and the youngsters may be irresponsibly complaining about playing time, but Green is first, second and third team when it comes to the reasons why things went wrong last year.

But he’s also the first, second and third team when it comes to the wingmen Curry needs, the defensive aces Kerr needs and the co-stars Thompson needs in their quest to win a fifth ring.

In the end, everyone involved wins. Poole, who failed to crack the starting line-up, now becomes the first option. Rollins and Baldwin, with no foreseeable path to minutes any time soon, are going to go to a team that is on pace for 20 wins and endless opportunities for raw prospects to grow and prove their worth. Wiseman plays for a team that values ​​back-to-the-basket centers more than any other team in the association, and Moody and Kuminga will likely see their games grow under Chris Paul’s pick-and-roll prowess and second-unit leadership. And Green, of course, is going to spend the next four years trying to do the one thing that will relegate this year’s talk to a footnote in his history: win a ring.

Is it fair that the player who sent the team into a spiral with an unforgivable streak of violence is allowed to stay and potentially benefit from the glory of the greatest American sports dynasty of the last decade, while the players broken by it are sent away without hesitation?

No, probably not. But it’s okay.

Read more

Leave a Comment