Durant, Warriors need to work on 'letting Draymond be too Draymond'

Durant, Warriors need to work on 'letting Draymond be too Draymond'

Draymond Green disagrees with most of his technical fouls, and he’s not going to change because he has to be who he has to be.

And I think we know how all this ends – with a rousing chorus of “I Fought The Law (And The Law Won).” And a knowing nod from Kevin Durant.

Green has taken a full-frontal approach to NBA officiating, allowing his emotions free and full reign when he feels slighted or wronged. An accomplished on-court thespian in only four years, he protests vociferously with face and pace when a whistle finds him, and he has noticed, as have his compatriots and employers, that it only earns him more whistles and notice. He has seven technical fouls this year and has concluded that he earned (and got his money’s worth in protest of) two.

[RELATED: Draymond analyzes his techs: 'They gonna tell me how my face can look?']

That leaves five, plus the number of calls that he has disagreed with that have not led to technical. And he claims to understand the system, and how it is being applied to him, and isn’t going to give in to the system that has made him one of the league’s pre-eminent discipline targets, along with Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins.

“A lot of guys get home at night and they’re exhausted from acting all day. I only know how to be Draymond,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “That's who I’ve been my entire life; that's who I’m gonna continue to be. I won’t be exhausted from acting when I get home. That ain’t gonna work for me. So no, I won't change an approach with anything. No point.”

Except that there is a point, and a line to be walked that allows him to be both Draymond and a diplomat. And this is where he wanders into the woods. In the NBA, both historically and comtemporaneously, the way to become unscrewed is NOT to fight the screwings frontally, but to be more judicious in picking one’s spots, and in learning and applying which officials respond to what form of protest. It is the time-honored way of the world in the NBA, and those who have not learned it have paid a heavier-than-required price for their stubbornness.

Which leads us to Durant and his vociferous objections to the league-mandated last-two-minute reports cataloguing and disseminating calls in close games that may or may not be correct. He thinks the NBA is leaving its officials to twist in the wind, and he chose the aftermath of the Warriors’ Christmas Day loss to Cleveland to make his point.

[RELATED: NBA Referees Association: We agree with Kevin Durant]

In other words, having been freshly tripped by Richard Jefferson in the last few seconds of the game, he decided to rail against the system at its source – the league office – and the peripheral issue – ratting out the beat cops for making an honest mistake.

At best, this was a sincere act of support for men (and one woman, Lauren Holtkamp) who get little, and at worst it was a tactical schmoozing that will serve him well in those benefit-of-the-doubt moments every game has.

And no, we’re not talking about calls per se, but the dead-ball chats that players have with officials. Durant will get more of an ear than most players because he is Kevin Durant, but he also will get more because he had a chance to slag the officials and chose to uphold them instead.

This is particularly useful given that the Warriors are particularly poor at selling calls. There is no metric for it, rather an eye-of-the-beholder thing, but Durant and Shaun Livingston are the only players in the rotation who know how to draw a foul when it is needed, and conversely, players like Green, Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry aren’t nearly as skilled at it.

In short, no James Hardens or LeBron Jameses or Jamal Crawfords here, just to name three players who have mastered this very useful skill.

Anyway, Durant is going to do with honey what Green won’t be able to do with sandpaper, and his claims that nobody is smart enough to interpret his body language (or even the color of his teeth, though there is no evidence that any official has ever cited gingivitis on a game report) ignores the fact that people in position to do just such judging are going to judge anyway. One, because they can, and two, because their bosses want them to.

That’s how Green became the marked man he is – by trying to be oblivious to how his body language affects those who can affect his playing time. That’s never worked well, even with the most conscientious objectors like Rasheed Wallace, who holds the likely-untouched record for technicals in a season with 44.

Green’s right to speak is clear, but so is the official’s right to have him speak from the bench, where he is not nearly so effective.

 And the Warriors’ middling ability to find the fine line between letting Draymond be Draymond and not letting Draymond be too Draymond needs work as well.

Does this mean Durant is responsible for making Green be less Green? No. These are both grown men who have to do as they do. But when Green sees how many more calls Durant gets, and how much more respect he gets from the officials, it may occur to him that he needs to adapt to conditions if he wants to stop being That Guy, because while it may be momentarily satisfying to get into an official’s grill, there is far longer-term benefit to channeling a bit of Kevin Durant.

Quinn Cook states his case for spot on Warriors playoff roster

Quinn Cook states his case for spot on Warriors playoff roster

Because it’s only two games against two of the worst teams in the NBA, it’s prudent to resist the temptation to fall in love with Quinn Cook.

Putting up Stephen Curry numbers in consecutive games does not make one Stephen Curry.

It’s impossible, though, not to clearly understand why the Warriors have consistently expressed faith in Cook, the two-way point guard who has spent three years trying to make an NBA team.

Two fine games are enough, though, for the coaching staff to recommend adding him to the postseason roster. It’s wise to have a contingency in case Curry has to miss any of the games that matter most, and the Warriors are a smart bunch.

Cook on Saturday told reporters in Phoenix that the Warriors have not addressed the possibility of being on the postseason roster. That doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about it.

“He’s proven that he can compete at this level,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters Saturday night in Phoenix. “The last couple games, you’re seeing what he can do. He’s a great shooter. We’ve known that."

Cook scored, on back-to-back nights, 25 and 28 points, shooting 70 percent (21-of-30) from the field, including 71.4 percent (10-of-14) from deep. That’s Curry-type quality when he’s on a roll. Cook also handled the ball well, recorded seven assists and was pesky enough on defense to nab five steals.

“Quinn is showing the world that he is an NBA player,” Draymond Green said.

Cook’s 10 3-pointers over the past two games are more than anybody not named Curry, Durant or Thompson have drained over a similar stretch -- and only Nick Young among the team’s reserves have made more over any single month.

The Warriors, it just so happens, are dead last in 3-pointers made by reserves, averaging 2.0 per game, with Young accounting for 1.5 per game.

Cook is showing he might be able to help with this.

Kerr loves 3-point shooters. General manager Bob Myers is fond of saying he can never have too many shooters.

The Warriors are discovering they can’t have too many capable point guards, particularly when Cook is proving that he, like Curry, also is comfortable playing off the ball. Pairing Cook with Shaun Livingston, the primary backup to Curry, is a nice option to have.

“I’ve said all along,” Green said. “I sit here and watch so many other teams play and I wonder, ‘How is Quinn Cook a two-way player?' And then you’ve got guys in the league that can’t dribble with their left hand, or can’t go left, can’t go right, but you’ve got a guy like that as a two-way player.

“So I’m happy for him. I pray that he gets rewarded and gets what he deserves.”

Cook had brief trial runs with the Pelicans, as a rookie, and the Mavericks last season. He played a total of 14 games with the two teams. He has played 21 with the Warriors, seven as a starter, but only in the last two has he looked entirely comfortable in his role and with these teammates.

With Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Curry out, the Warriors need Cook to score. He knows he needs to score. He is scoring. And doing a few other things, too.

“Playing in the NBA is something that I’ve dreamed of my whole life,” Cook said after his 28-point performance in a win over the Suns. “I can’t really put it into words, just being able to put on an NBA jersey night in and night out, practice with an NBA team every day, has been my goal since I can remember. I’m just trying to get better every day and live in the moment. I’m just trying to win games. I’m trying to help out as much as possible, whether it’s getting guys shots, playing defense, shooting the ball.

“Lately the ball’s been going in a little bit. But with three All-Stars out, I’ve got to step up. I’m just taking it game by game and competing night in and night out.”

Sometime early next month, if not late this month, the Warriors expect to have their starting backcourt. Curry and Thompson will have returned before the playoffs begin April 14-15, and both will need to be available if for reasonable chance to repeat as champs.

But Cook is making his case for inclusion. He’ll get another test Monday night in San Antonio, where Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is sure to throw at Cook a few wrinkles he may not have seen, but the Warriors have seen enough to know he can help.

“He’s a good fit for us, too,” Kerr said. “It’s not just his ability. It’s his maturity. He’s very professional, does whatever is asked, the guys love him. They want to go to war with him.

“He’s a guy. He’s an NBA guy. We’re lucky to have him.”

That’s not an demand, or even a preference. To add Cook to the roster, the Warriors would have to shed one of their 15 players currently on a standard NBA contract.

But somewhere among Kerr’s words, I believe I see an endorsement.

Warriors need vets to bounce back against young Suns


Warriors need vets to bounce back against young Suns

The Warriors have lost three of their last four games, their roster is in shambles and, still, they look like pure gold in contrast to the Suns team they’re facing Saturday night in Phoenix.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6 o’clock, with tipoff scheduled for 7:05.

Reeling from the absences of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, the Warriors (52-17) showed plenty of the scrap in losing to the Kings on Friday in Oakland but couldn’t get much offense from their veterans.

The Suns (19-51) are having the worst season since 1968-69, their inaugural season. They’ve lost seven in a row, 16 of their last 17 and 21 of their last 23.


Warriors by 3


Quinn Cook vs. Elfrid Payton: Payton bolted to a 16-point first quarter and scored 29 the last time he faced the Warriors. Quinn is coming off a career-high 25-point game. With teams relying on diminished rosters, whichever of the two young PGs can set a tone gives his team an advantage.


Warriors: G Omri Casspi (R ankle sprain), G Stephen Curry (R ankle tweak), F Kevin Durant (R rib soreness), G Pat McCaw (L wrist fracture) and G Klay Thompson (R thumb fracture) are listed as out.

Suns: G Devin Booker (R hand sprain) and F Alan Williams (R meniscus tear) are listed as questionable. G Brandon Knight (L ACL tear) is listed as out.


Warriors: 7-3.

Suns: 1-9.


Tony Brothers (crew chief), Jacyn Goble, James Williams


The Warriors won the first of four meetings this season, 129-83 on Feb. 12 at Oracle Arena. They swept all four games last season and are 12-1 against the Suns in the Steve Kerr era.


MOTIVATED VETS: Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia, David West and Nick Young, expected to generate offense, combined to shoot 19-of-59 (32.2 percent) in a five-point loss Friday. They must be better; they can’t be much worse. Phoenix leads the NBA in points allowed.

THE BIG MEN: JaVale McGee started nine straight games at center, but Pachulia started the last two. The Suns are long up front, so McGee could be in line for a start or more minutes. In addition, Damian Jones, the team’s other 7-footer, also could get playing time.

STREAKING WITH THREES: The Suns own the longest active streak of games with at least one 3-point make (1,128). The Warriors are No. 2 (1,121). Both streaks are endangered. Curry, Thompson and Durant are out for the Warriors. Booker will either sit out or play with a splint on his shooting hand.