A challenge to Draymond Green, Warriors, Oakland, Oracle Arena

A challenge to Draymond Green, Warriors, Oakland, Oracle Arena

Draymond Green speaks so often that there is the occasional risk that he will say something that is wrong. Or at least not yet proven in the right conditions.

And this is where his postgame soliloquy on the New York Knicks’ experiment in throwback basketball (which would be Knickerbokcery, if you must) sits. As lacking proper empirical research.

The Knicks decided to play the first half of Sunday’s 112-105 Warriors win with only the ambient noise created by the game itself – sneaker squeaks, ball bounces, calling out switches (or in the Knicks’ case, not calling out switches), all as a tribute to the way things used to be when butter came from churns and shoes were made of canvas and rubber, and most barbarically there wasn’t seatside alcohol service.

Back then, the noise was supplied by the customers, and the noise they made was inspired by the players. You made a home court advantage, it wasn’t granted to you by someone in a sound booth.

And Green, in a surprise to no people, hated it.

“It changed the flow of the game. It changed everything,” he told cameras and notebooks after the game. “You get used to playing a certain way. It completely changed it. To me, I think it was completely disrespectful to everyone from Michael Levine to Rick Welts and all these people who’ve done these things to change the game from an entertainment perspective. It gives the game a great vibe. That’s complete disrespect. You advance things in the world to make it better. You don’t go back to what was bad. It’s like, computers can do anything for us—It’s like going back to paper. Why would you do that? So it was ridiculous.”

To his credit, he didn’t accuse the Knicks of anything other than marketing (“I don’t think they were doing it to, like, throw us off, but it definitely threw the entire game off”). And to his detriment he did drop some over-the-top company suck-up as though Levine and Welts invented music during basketball games when in fact it has been a staple at Knicks games since the no-bass-register-allowed organ was introduced in the early ‘70s, and may have actually be first conceived at the Mecca in Milwaukee before that.

But New York in 2017 is not the place to try such a one-off scheme anyway, not with the way the Knicks have offended their customer base with a daily crapshow of such epic proportions. Sure, Madison Square Garden is iconic and all that blah blah blah, but the Knicks have sucked the life out of their crowds with their historic inertia and present-day irrelevance.

But there is a place where the experiment of a silent half actually needs to be tried.


And not because silence is automatically better. This is not going to turn into another episode of The Old Fud Hour, When The Old Days Were Good Because They Were Old. Silence for silence’s sake is as stupid an idea as noise for noise’s sake. Besides, Green has a point when he says, “You turn on music, it just helps you get into a certain area, takes you to a certain place.” It’s what the players are used to, and have been going back two generations.

But most of the time, the players say almost robotically, “We have the best fans in all of sports,” mostly because the front office says it and wants it repeated by the employees so that the best fans in all of sports will keep throwing down money to be called the best fans in all of sports. Ain’t nobody calling the Denver Nuggets fans the best in the world when they sell out twice a year.

But they do say that about Oakland, which earned its reputation as a tough place to play in lean times and an even tougher place now when the table is always dressed out for feasting. And they don’t say it because the music is just better. They say it because the crowd is more consistently all-in than nearly anywhere else, and because the building's acoustics bring the noise to floor level, and because they just bring that irreplaceable Oakland vibe to what would normally be a homogenized experience.

Thus, it would be a fascinating experiment to see if the Warrior fans could be just as daunting a factor when they had to do all the work on their own.

Now we know through observation that cheering through the greater part of a 140-minute game is not easy work. That’s part of the reason why there is music and noise and colors that never end -- the human larynx can only do so much on its own. True, all the whatnot can become a sensory nightmare if you’re not fully prepared, and even the Warriors know there is a line to it. After all, the live bands in the top of the lower bowl are no more, though that might just have been a way for a billion-dollar franchise to save a few thousand bucks.

So I propose, over Green’s head, a challenge to the Warriors to hold a game between now and the end of the regular season with the same noiseless parameters the Knicks set Sunday, and just tell the crowd, “Today you will show us with your voices and hands and feet if you really are the baddest dudes and dudesses on the planet.” Give them a half to scare the hell out of the Phoenix Suns by simply being fully responsible for the atmosphere they wish to enjoy. Participation rather than absorption – just to see if they can do the do they way they say they can do it. Just one time, just to prove a point nobody else can replicate, and then to move on to the next thing.

Why, I put it to you, must E-40 do all the work, all the time?

And if it goes the way it should, then the Warriors can say for all time, “We do have the best fans in all of sports because they just went out and proved it. Not with their wallets, but with their hearts and hands and voices.”

It will be Oakland’s way of reminding us all that there are lots of kinds of music, and some of the best doesn’t even need a backbeat.

Steph Curry knows it comes with risk, but he's not going to change the way he plays


Steph Curry knows it comes with risk, but he's not going to change the way he plays

OAKLAND -- When he returns to the Warriors, likely on Friday, Stephen Curry will alter nothing about his game despite coming off a four-month period during which his surgically repaired right ankle endured multiple aggravations.

He’ll be the same Curry that fans have come to know, diving into passing lanes on defense while firing up 3-pointers and darting in and out of paint traffic on offense.

It’s the only way he knows how to play, and he’s played long enough to accept that it comes with risk.

“When I wake up in the morning I’ll know the difference between my right (ankle) and my left,” Curry said Thursday after practice. “But that won’t stop me from being who I am on the floor and having confidence in myself when I get back out there.”

Curry missed 11 games after spraining his ankle on Dec. 4 in New Orleans. He missed two games after tweaking it in shootaround on Jan 10. He missed no games after tweaking it March 2 in Atlanta. He has missed the last six games after tweaking it on March 8 against the Spurs.

“I’ve been very durable over the course of my career,” said Curry, who is listed as probable but fully expects to play Friday against Atlanta. “It’s just that I’ve had three untimely, freak accidents happen.”

Curry stepped on E’twaun Moore’s foot in New Orleans, on Zaza Pachulia’s foot in Atlanta and Dejounte Murray’s foot against the Spurs at Oracle Arena.

Not once in the previous five regular seasons did Curry miss significant time due to his tricky ankle. He missed a total of 16 games during that span, never more than four in a season, and six of those were for reasons of rest.

This season, however, has tested Curry’s patience like nothing since 2011-12, after which he had his second ankle surgery. He concedes that being in and out of the lineup has left him at times feeling “boredom, monotony and frustration.”

Though some of that can be attributed to the rehab process, there is no doubt part of that stems from watching the Warriors from the sideline.

With Curry out of the lineup this season, the Warriors are 13-8 (he missed one game with a hand bruise, another with a thigh bruise). That they are 40-10 when he’s in the lineup illustrates his importance.

It’s not just that he’s important. Curry is the catalyst for the offense and he can only be that if he is playing without regard for the possibility of injury. A hesitant Curry can’t be an effective Curry, so full throttle is the only way to go.

"If we’re trying to win a championship, I need to be out there,” he said. “That’s a given. We want every single guy out there, healthy and available, myself included. That’s the ideal situation.”

If he gets hurt along the way, so be it. As man of faith, he believes that anything that happens is influenced by a higher power.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m shooting 3s or pullups are going into the lane or playing defense, that’s liable to happen any time,” Curry said. “Other than those instances, I haven’t had anything to worry about on the injury front. We are prisoners of the moment when it comes (playing the game). I don’t feel like I’m at a point where I have to change anything based on me being a durable player and being on the court consistently.

“Down the line, if you ask me about it in three of four years, there might be something I might need to change. But not right now.”

There is a segment of fans, worried about Curry’s health and realizing it is tied to the fate of the team, who would like him to dial back his aggression. Maybe avoid the paint and settle for more jump shots. He’s heard the advice and is not unwilling to launch a few more shots from deep.

But Curry is going to go where he sees daylight, and the best chance to make a positive play. He’ll take his chances because hesitation has no place in his mind or his game.


How Iguodala helped Looney get career on track, 'I finally listened to him...'


How Iguodala helped Looney get career on track, 'I finally listened to him...'

Back in late October, the Warriors declined their $2.3 million team option on Kevon Looney for the 2018-19 season.

How did that make him feel?

"It was kind of a let down," Looney told Tim Kawakami and Marcus Thompson on the Warriors Plus/Minus Podcast. "I knew it was up in the air. It was going back and forth, back and forth. When they didn't pick it up -- they told me why, I understood, I've been here for three years, I've seen a lot of players come and go; I know basketball is a business -- I was kind of let down.

"But I knew I was going to try and make the most of it. Now I'm playing for my contract for next year. I just wanted to go prove myself. I knew this summer there was a lot of doubts about what I could do. People were doubting if I would even be in the NBA still ... I knew what I was capable of."

Looney underwent surgery on his right hip in August 2015, and appeared in just five games during his rookie season.

He then had surgery on his left hip in April 2016, and appeared in 53 games (8.4 minutes per night) during the 2016-17 season.

This year, he's averaging career highs in points (3.5), rebounds (2.9), blocks (0.7) and minutes (12.0).

"This summer, I decided I just wanted to try go back to the way I played in college. It's been working for me," Looney explained. "I lost about 30 pounds this offseason and it's really made me a lot faster and a lot quicker. And I've been staying healthy."

How did he drop all that weight?

"A lot of broccoli and turkey and plain food. Food that wasn't that good but it's something that I had to get used to," Looney said. "Taco Bell, fried chicken, I was eating that on the regular ... coming off of injury, you can't eat like that. It's a different level of intensity in the NBA.

"I had to change my diet. Andre (Iguodala) was in my ear for two years about it. I finally listened to him and it paid off."

Looney will become an unrestricted free agent in July.

Although the Warriors declined the option, the 22-year old could return to Golden State -- but the max amount the Warriors can offer him is $2.3 million.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller