Warriors focus: Draymond Green

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Warriors focus: Draymond Green

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fifth installment in a seven-part series that spotlights the seven new Warriors.
Part 1: Harrison BarnesPart 2: Kent Bazemore
Part 3: Andrew Bogut
Part 4: Festus Ezeli

The Warriors have made plenty of changes since the end of the 2011-12 season. They will likely have four first-year players on their roster come the start of the season, and they also acquired veterans Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry.Center Andrew Bogut came to the Warriors in March, but hes a newcomer, too, if you factor in that he still hasnt played a game for the team yet. With training camp set to begin in early October, lets begin our player-by-player analysis of the Warriors new players.Draymond Green, 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, small forwardpower forward.If theres one thing you continue to hear about forward Draymond Green its that hes smart and knows how to play. Yes, he fits the description of the classic tweener, but the Warriors certainly believe hell figure out a way to find a niche in the NBA.Make no mistake, if Green is playing power forward, hell be an undersized four. And if he finds himself playing small forward, well, then, hes going to be challenged athletically and in the quickness department.
But what Green does have is length, and that will give him the opportunity to combat some of the deficiencies hes likely to face navigating those two positions.Green anticipates well, he can pass and he fully understands how to play team defense the result of having played under Tom Izzo at Michigan State for four seasons. Those are the kinds of little things that make it possible for Green to get playing time -- though a close look at the Warriors roster indicates it wont be easy.For every positive, there seems to be a negative when it comes to Green, but you would expect as much from a player drafted in the second round. Hes not an elite athlete, doesnt have what you would call a great body, and isnt yet a consistent shooter.Still, the Warriors clearly believe the positives outweigh the negatives and theyre hoping that down the road Green turns into a contributor. How do we know the Warriors believe that?Well, because the Warriors gave Green a guaranteed contract for two seasons and a partial guarantee for Year No. 3. That doesnt happen to every second-round selection, thats for sure.Green is an OK mid-range shooter, and he seems to have the ability to be a 3-point threat down the road. More important, he plays with consistent energy right now, and he has shown a knack for rebounding the ball.Its nothing short of impressive that Green left Michigan State as the schools all-time leading rebounder, and averaged 10.6 rebounds his senior season for the Spartans.He might not be able to duplicate those numbers at the NBA level, but by the same token those kinds of numbers indicate that Green has very good anticipation, a nose for the ball and some good hands, too.One look at the lay of the land, though, and its tough to see Green getting minutes. Hes No. 3 on the depth chart at power forward behind David Lee and Carl Landry, so theres little to no playing time there.And its not like there are an abundance of minutes at small forward not with rookie Harrison Barnes, re-signed Brandon Rush and veteran Richard Jefferson all in the mix there.Then again, were still talking about a player who was drafted in the second round and doesnt have a definitive position. So, its less about whether Green is going to get playing time and more a question of whether he can play in the league.

Draymond laughs at Jazz coach Quin Snyder: 'Like bro ... just chill'

Draymond laughs at Jazz coach Quin Snyder: 'Like bro ... just chill'

The Warriors left Utah with a 106-99 victory over the Jazz.

With 9.3 seconds remaining and the Warriors up by eight points, Kevin Durant was hit with a technical foul.

Draymond Green walked over to Durant and started laughing. Why?

"We were laughing at Quinn Snyder who kept calling timeouts," Draymond told reporters after the game. "Like bro, you're down 10 with six seconds left, it's kinda over my man."

[POOLE: Warriors fight off fatigue & complacency, win 'weird game' in Utah]

After Zaza Pachulia missed two free throws with the Warriors ahead by 11 and 1:05 remaining, the Jazz got the rebound and immediately called timeout.

After Draymond made one of two free throws with 49.4 seconds left to make it 104-94, Utah called another timeout.

After Steph Curry made a free throw to give the Warriors an eight-point lead with 9.3 seconds left, Quin Snyder used his final timeout.

Warriors play-by-play broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald said: "Utah is gonna use another time out. Quin Snyder is just practicing game-ending situations."

Analyst Jim Barnett responded with: "Absolutely, that's what he's doing."

"Just let us go to the restaurant and have a good dinner; just chill," Draymond added. "That's what we were laughing at. Nothing about the tech ... that was funny. But that's all it was."
 

Warriors fight off fatigue & complacency, win 'weird game' in Utah

Warriors fight off fatigue & complacency, win 'weird game' in Utah

The Warriors smelled trouble from the moment they left Los Angeles for their overnight flight to Salt Lake City, where on Thursday night, precisely 20 hours after they disposed of the Clippers in LA, they would face the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz announced Wednesday that four players – including three starters – would be out with injuries.

Trap Game, eh? It’s not a clich√©, not in today’s NBA, where the schedule is both unforgiving and remorseless.

And then on Thursday morning the Warriors received information that a fourth Utah starter, leading scorer Gordon Hayward, also would not be available.

With one healthy Jazz starter greeting the hottest team in the league, the Warriors caught a slight whiff of Eau de Upset. Acutely aware they were facing a severely shorthanded squad the Warriors swallowed hard and went immediately for the blowout.

They failed. Though they would win their 16th of 17 games and run their record to 20-3 by silencing the Jazz, 106-99, the Warriors also got a reminder that severely patchwork teams tend to bring the fight.

“It wasn’t pretty,” Stephen Curry told reporters at Vivint Smart Home Arena, “but got a win.”

Oh, it was beautiful early. The Warriors running and gunning and smothering Utah, taking a 29-5 lead barely eight minutes into the game and holding a 65-46 advantage at the half. They were achieving their goal of quickly opening this gift of a game to allow their starters to watch most of the second half.

Rarely is it that easy under these circumstances, and this would not be an exception. When patchwork NBA teams accept that winning is not an option, they set about avoiding embarrassment.

With a 12-0 run in the middle of the third quarter, the Jazz cut the deficit to nine (73-64), and when the Warriors steadied themselves to go up 14 (80-66) with 2:45 left in the third, the Jazz fashioned a 13-4 run to narrow it to 84-79.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr blamed it on a “lack of focus,” which is a symptom of presuming victory.

“Our first quarter was great; we pushed the ball. Our defensive intensity was fantastic and then we let down,” Kerr said. “We started turning it over with some careless, purposeless plays. We didn’t really have an idea of what we were trying to accomplish and then some defensive mistakes like not getting out on their shooters, and they took advantage.”

Outscoring the Warriors 53-41 in the second half, the Jazz – playing without Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood and George Hill – made the vastly superior team sweat.

“They obviously played with a lot of energy,” said Curry, who scored a game-high 26 points. “They didn’t fold and we got a little stagnant on offense, it happens, but you just got to be able to finish the game out. The way we started gave us an opportunity to withstand their run and never really have the game out of hand.”

Kevin Durant ensured there would be no upset, performing the closeout with an 11-point fourth quarter. He scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half.

“Just tried to be aggressive,” Durant said. “I didn’t do a good job attacking throughout the game. I thought that was a good opportunity for me to attack. I got to the free throw line and that got me going. I got some dunks, a few cuts and Steph [Curry] helped me out as well.

“It was a weird game. It was a grind out game. We started off so well and then a three-pointer got them back in the game. They played physical later on the game and were able to take us out of our game a little bit, but we kept fighting and we got a good win on a back-to-back.”

In defeating the Jazz, the Warriors also held off two more formidable foes: fatigue and complacency. There are nights, and this was one of them, when the path to victory requires beating all three.