Draymond blasts Pierce, 'stupid' NBA players for criticizing Durant

Draymond blasts Pierce, 'stupid' NBA players for criticizing Durant

Draymond Green lit into his NBA brethren. Not all of them, mind you, but those who can’t resist taking shots at Kevin Durant for having the gall to do what he believes is the best thing for Kevin Durant.

Durant’s decision to leave Oklahoma City for the Warriors, where he is now teammates with Green, has provoked a startling amount of jabs from NBA players, from select members of the media and, predictably and understandably, from the wounded and grieving members of the Thunder fan base.

Green was very specific with his comments, unloading on players who dare to sling mud toward Durant, with Clippers forward Paul Pierce being the most recent. Though Pierce was called out by name, Green was talking about any player who criticized Durant for doing what free agents have negotiated the right to do.

[RELATED: Westbrook's response to Durant's 'selfless' comments: 'That's cute']

“I just wonder at what point do they get bored, talking about the same thing,” Green told reporters in Denver, where the Warriors practiced on Thursday. “You’ve got all these guys coming out talking, like Pierce. Dude, nobody cares what you did or who you did it for. Give it a break.

“Everybody’s got something to say, and then they want to take everything (Durant) says and twist it. He plays with the Warriors. OKC has their team; we have our team. All right? He left there.”

It’s exceedingly rich and a bit ironic that Pierce would join the line of those lobbing verbal grenades toward Durant and the Warriors. Pierce earned his only NBA championship ring as a member of the 2007-08 Boston Celtics, who presumably benefited greatly from the summertime additions of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

Garnett left Minnesota for Boston after agreeing to a sign-and-trade deal. He didn’t embrace the move until after Allen signed off on a deal to leave the Seattle SuperSonics for Boston.

By moving boldly to add two All-Stars to incumbents Rajon Rondo and Pierce, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge saved his job. He also engineered a championship.

The point being, major moves are made all the time in sports, sometimes by trade, sometimes by forced trade and sometimes through free agency. Yet Durant has become a popular target for those throwing peanuts from the sideline.

Green doesn’t understand it, perhaps because it’s both shortsighted and irrational.

“Nobody complains when somebody leaves Apple and goes to Google,” Green said. “Aren’t they in competition with each other? Nobody talks junk about the CEO that leaves Apple and goes to Google.

“As a basketball player, you’re a CEO of your business. You are a business, and Kevin Durant is a big business. He’s the CEO of that business. So, him going to play basketball for a different team . . . the CEO decided to leave where he was at and go somewhere else.

“But there are so many guys in this league that are so stupid, they don’t even think like that. They don’t think business-wise, when it happens every day in the world. But in basketball it’s a problem. Aren’t you competitive in your day job if you work for Apple? Don’t you want to outdo Google? What’s the difference on the basketball court? It’s your day job. You want to outdo the competitor.

"But if you feel like a situation is better for you – it’s better for your life, it’s better for your family life, it’s better for your happiness – ain’t nobody criticizing them for going to a different company.

“So why is he getting criticized so tough. I don’t understand it. And I’ll never understand it. So, that’s just me. And I’ll be willing to bet my entire salary that it ain’t many guys in this league that are more competitive than me.

“I gave you guys some good quotes, didn’t I? I want to see that blow up.”

Pro sports are, at bottom, about money and leverage. Durant’s contract opened the door to free agency, giving him leverage. He used it. He’s not the first and most definitely won’t be the last.

Though Durant would have collected a bigger paycheck if he stayed in OKC, his decision to come to the Warriors is a direct result of negotiating for the right to become a free agent. The whole point of becoming a free agent is to explore options, which every free agent does unless he’s dedicated to his previous team.

Durant was ready to walk. He did. And all those who turn on him for doing so have to ask themselves a simple question:

What would you do if you did your research and concluded your current employer was less attractive, for a variety of reasons, than another that recruited you?

Cook gives injured Warriors 'huge boost' in anomalous loss

Cook gives injured Warriors 'huge boost' in anomalous loss

OAKLAND -- If Quinn Cook plays at anything close to the level he performed Friday night against the Kings, the Warriors should avoid any catastrophic stumbling in the absence of their top three scorers.

They stumbled plenty in a 98-93 loss to Sacramento, but not because of Cook. The two-way player who has spent most of the season with G-League Santa Cruz scored a team-high 25 points, shot 10-of-13 from the field and played respectable defense.

He did more than could have been reasonably expected.

“I felt like this was coming,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was fantastic. He really lit it up and gave us a huge boost.”

The Warriors ran into problems elsewhere, shared among the usually reliable veterans who need to be particularly reliable in the absence of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.

Usual starters Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia combined to shoot 6-of-20.

Usual reserves Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, David West and Nick Young shot a collective 13-of-39.

In the second half, when Warriors mustered only 34 points -- a season-low for any half -- the six vets combined to take 32 shots and missed 24.

Those are atrocious numbers and they explain what went wrong in a game that was there for the taking.

They’re also an anomaly.

“We just couldn’t get anything going,” Green said. “But we got some good shots. We got ‘Dre on a couple of pull-ups in the lane, I got a couple open shots, Nick got a couple open shots, Zaza got a couple open ones. D-West had one pop in and out. (Kevon Looney) had two pop in and out.

“We just got cold. But hopefully those shots will fall tomorrow.”

West, returning after missing four games with a cyst on his right arm, was 1-of-6 from the field. He came into this game as a 60.8-percent shooter this season.

Igoudala was 4-of-10; he shot 70 percent over the previous 10 games. Young was 5-of-15, well below his 44-percent shooting this season. Livingston’s 3-of-8 shooting is uncharacteristic of someone shooting at least 50 percent for four years running.

If history is any indication, Green (5-of-14) and Pachulia (1-of-6) are not going continue to miss at the rate they did in this game, the first this season in which the Warriors were without all three of their top scorers.

If history is any indication, the Warriors can’t be counted on to score 34 points on 27.3-percent shooting in the second half of a game.

“I loved how our guys battled,” Kerr said. “They really competed well and made some big plays. We just couldn’t get the ball to go down quite enough in the second half.”

That’s going to change, perhaps as soon as Saturday night in Phoenix, were the Suns are playing to lose.

So if Cook plays steady basketball, the Warriors will fall off and their fans won’t become a basket case while waiting for the three shooters. The Warriors surely believe that.

“He really showed up. I’ve been waiting on that Quinn,” Green said. “We needed that. It was great for him to come out and play like that. And most importantly, his shots were falling. Since he’s been playing (more often) he’s been playing well, but his shots weren’t really falling. But tonight, they fell for him.”

They won’t always fall at a rate of 77 percent. They won’t have to once his teammates drop in a few more of their own shots.

Casspi rolls ankle, leaves game vs Kings


Casspi rolls ankle, leaves game vs Kings

OAKLAND -- Omri Casspi sustained a sprained right ankle with 9:00 left in the second quarter of the Warriors-Kings game Friday night and did not return.

After dropping in a short hook shot with 9:04 left in the quarter, Casspi landed awkwardly, rolling his ankle and dropping to the floor clutching his lower leg. Down for a couple minutes, he eventually got up and limped into the locker room, accompanied by physical performance specialist Chelsea Lane.

Casspi played six minutes off the bench, producing 6 points, one assist and one rebound against his former team.

He joins Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Pat McCaw and Klay Thompson on the sideline.