Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green blossomed into one of the most unlikeliest of stars this season. A second-round pick in 2012, Green showed flashes of being a solid role player his first two seasons before morphing into one of the Warriors’ most important players, a brash versatile forward who did it all on both ends of the floor.
Green was the heart and soul of the champion Warriors, and his energy was infectious. There were times where that energy and bravado worked against him, and we saw it in the NBA Finals. When he’s not playing well, it’s easy to grow tired of some of his antics, which can sometimes feature a bit too much crying about the officials.
But when Green is playing well, he’s an absolute treat to watch. It’s no coincidence that Golden State turned things around in the Finals when he began to play better. The confidence in his outside shot came back, and with the Warriors playing small, there was more room for him to make plays when he drove to the basket. His defense was incredible all season as he was the runner-up in Defensive Player of the Year voting, but Golden State hit another level when his offense was on point as well.
Green capped off the Finals with a triple-double, but he saved his best “performance” for last during the Warriors’ championship rally on Friday, and he did it in only a way he could.
Green’s infectious energy and charisma was on full display right from the start of the day, and it certainly helped that it appeared he had enjoyed a healthy (or unhealthy?) amount of adult beverages:
Green was feeling it all day, and he gave quite the speech during the rally itself:
The best part of the speech was when he dragged head coach Steve Kerr up with him and joked about how much Kerr “hated” him and how the coach probably still “hates” him. The way Green is, I can totally envision Kerr getting fed up at times. Or even a lot.
But a head coach can live with some antics when that player means so much to the ultimate goal you’re trying to accomplish. And right from the start when Green was inserted into the starting lineup thanks to David Lee‘s injury, his importance was evident. Green’s versatility allowed the Warriors to play super small, a strategy that helped them immensely in the Finals.
Green is now heading to restricted free agency, but Warriors fans shouldn’t be worried, because he’s not going anywhere. Some other team may come along and sign him to a max offer sheet, but Golden State will happily match. Perhaps the Warriors are even proactive and offer him a max contract right away just to get it over with.
You can argue all you want that Green isn’t max contract worthy, and perhaps he’s not in some other situation. But in the context of this Warriors roster, there’s zero doubt that he’s worth the max money, especially with the cap about to explode in 2016. Lee will probably be sacrificed in order to save some money because of that max deal, but that’s no loss at this point.
Green will be back, and so will Golden State. It wouldn’t surprise anybody if the Warriors are back in the Finals next year, and if they make it back-to-back championships, I can’t wait to see what Green has for an encore to this year’s rally performance.