Draymond Green

Draymond Green 'nowhere near' hitting his ceiling as a player

Draymond Green 'nowhere near' hitting his ceiling as a player

During the 2015-16 season, Draymond Green averaged 14.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks per game, while shooting just under 39 percent from deep.

He was an All-Star, runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year, All-NBA Second-Team and placed seventh in the MVP voting.

Last year he averaged 10.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.4 blocks per game, but his 3-point shooting dipped eight percentage points to 30.8.

He was an All-Star, All-NBA Third-Team and won the Defensive Player of the Year.

"I've heard I've reached my ceiling since I was a sophomore in high school," Draymond told ESPN's Chris Haynes. "Every year. It never fails. But the one thing I've never understood is how someone can say I've reached my ceiling when I know I'm one of the hardest-working players in the NBA.

"And I'll continue to hear that for the rest of my career. Reached a ceiling, reached a ceiling. And one day I will ... eventually I will reach my ceiling, but I know I'm nowhere near that right now.

"I think I'm just starting to scratch the surface of the player that I can be."

As a rookie, Draymond averaged 2.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.5 steals and 0.3 blocks over 13.4 minutes per game, and shot 21 percent (14 for 67) from 3-point territory.

In Year 2, he improved to 6.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.9 blocks in 21.9 minutes per contest, and shot 33.3 percent (55 for 165) from distance.

His breakout season came in 2014-15 when he supplanted David Lee in the starting lineup -- something that originally happened only because Lee injured his hamstring in the preseason.

Remember when Steve Kerr's plan was for Draymond to play around 12 to 15 minutes per game? Crazy how things can change.

"I know I'll continue to get better. There's a lot of things that I want to accomplish," Draymond told ESPN. "I want to continue to win championships. That's always the No. 1 goal for myself, is to try to win championships. Continuing to try to be an All-Star, especially in this stacked Western Conference. Continue to be an All-NBA performer and, most importantly, trying to build a résumé to one day that I can possibly enter into the Hall of Fame."

So how can Draymond get better? Is there anything in particular he worked on this offseason?

"Every summer I pick two to three things to work on. One of those things is always my shooting. I always think I can improve that," Draymond told NBC Sports Bay Area this week. "I worked on my post game a lot this summer, and I did a ton of ball-handling ... when you're balling-handling is crisp you're a better passer."

Draymond will turn 28 years old in March.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Draymond: 'That's what stood out to me' about Kyrie Irving trade

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AP

Draymond: 'That's what stood out to me' about Kyrie Irving trade

OAKLAND -- Though Draymond Green has spent the past three months enjoying the fruits of his labor, traveling the world, making friends and finding time for family, he still managed to keep an eye on this most intriguing NBA summer.

When the Warriors forward met with reporters Tuesday after the team’s news conference announcing a three-year jersey sponsorship with Rakuten, a Tokyo-based electric commerce and Internet company, one thing rang loud and clear.

Draymond has a new level of admiration for Kyrie Irving.

The former Cavaliers star expressed a desire to escape LeBron James’ massive shadow -- and the accompanying success -- and did what it took to maneuver his way into being traded to the Celtics, another Eastern Conference contender.

“You have to deliver with that,” Green said. “He’s basically saying, ‘OK, I’m ready to deliver.’

“He wasn’t a free agent. So he could have gotten traded anywhere. But he pretty much said, ‘I don’t care where I go. I’m going to make it happen.’ That says a lot about who he is, as a competitor. His character. That says a lot about him.”

It’s a gutsy move, to be sure, for Irving to want out after he and James led Cleveland to three straight NBA Finals appearances, all against the Warriors, with the Cavs winning one of the three trips.

“I wouldn't necessarily say it surprised me. I'd say more than anything, (it upped) the respect level I have for him,” Green said. “That's tough to do. I don't think people take into account that he put so much pressure on himself by doing that.

“But the willingness to do that, knowing the pressure that comes with that, and saying ‘I'm ready to do it. Let’s do it.' That's what stood out to me, more than anything.”

Irving’s departure doesn’t crush the Cavs, who have evolved into the greatest rival of the Warriors. James remains, and All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas was among the players going from Boston to Cleveland.

Irving’s decision to force his way out of a championship contender is not novel, but it puts a new spin on the Eastern Conference.

“It’s not the surprise of, ‘Hey, Kyrie wants to leave.’ That happens all the time; it happened with Shaq (O’Neal) and Kobe (Bryant), and it’s happened with a ton of other guys in the NBA over the course of the years,” Green said. “But for him to be willing to step out and say (I want to do my own thing) is big.”

Lillard: Much love for Draymond, 'can't stand him on the court'

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Instagram/damianlillard

Lillard: Much love for Draymond, 'can't stand him on the court'

The fifth annual Damian Lillard Brookfield Picnic was on Saturday in East Oakland.

The Blazers guard hosts the event to give back to his community.

Warriors forward Draymond Green attended and Lillard thanked him on Instagram:

 

Everything about this is awesome.

Let's take a walk down memory lane to Nov. 1, 2016, when the Warriors beat the Blazers 127-104 in Portland.

Following shootaround that day, Lillard made a declaration about Golden State's defense.

“It’s not the same. They are a great offensive team and I think they will still be a good defensive team, but it’s different than when (Andrew) Bogut is not back there. It’s just not the same."

After the win, Draymond delivered a message to Lillard.

"That was great for us to really come out and put that kind of game together on the defensive end, especially when our defense has been called out -- that there's no anchor and it's not the same and all that -- I think some opinions will change sooner than later. But until then, we'll just keep doing that. And when they change, we'll keep doing that still. It was fun to do that...

"I love when people say stuff like that. I take it personal, so I appreciate it. It really got me going on that end tonight. And I felt amazing out there, and I think our defense was amazing.

"So yeah I love when people say stuff like that. Continue to do it."

It's also possible that Lillard "can't stand" Draymond because the Warriors ended the Blazers' season each of the last two years.

[REWIND: Trash talk between Draymond, Blazers 'good' for 'softened up' NBA]

And perhaps stuff like this factors in as well:

Draymond and Lillard face off for the first time on Dec. 11 at Oracle Arena.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller