Chris Mullin compares Draymond Green to NBA greats after stellar Game 3

Chris Mullin compares Draymond Green to NBA greats after stellar Game 3

Chris Mullin is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. As he should be.

And as Mullin watched Game 3 of the Warriors-Trail Blazers Western Conference finals Saturday night, he could have sworn he saw another Hall of Famer running out there on the Moda Center court.

"He looked like Magic tonight the way he was pushing the ball full steam ahead after makes and misses," Mullin said of Draymond Green's performance in Golden State's 110-99 win. "Scoring the ball, rebounding, assisting, communicating, I thought he did a great job of keeping just the positive energy, even when they were down."

There came a moment in Saturday's game when that positive energy was deployed expertly and on point. Jordan Bell missed a wide-open dunk, drawing jeers from the Portland crowd. Shortly thereafter, Green tried to refocus his younger teammate, and the microphones picked up his message.

Mullin, who stepped down as head coach at St. John's University in April, knows full well the value of having a player like Green who can communicate that message from a place of earned authority. In Mullin's eyes, Green's seemingly endless storage of energy and enthusiasm doesn't come about by accident.

"I really think the way Draymond, the last month or two with his fitness level increasing, I think when you're physically fit and you don't get tired, you're sharper mentally, you've got a more positive feel about what's going on, no matter what that is," Mullin said. "Your decision-making is sharper. You don't fatigue mentally or physically, so you have that extra energy to help your teammates."

Green certainly didn't appear to tire throughout Game 3, over which he tallied a triple-double with 20 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. He also collected four steals and one block, meaning he has five combined blocks and steals in all three games of the best-of-seven series thus far.

Green believes he's the best defender in NBA history. Is Mullin ready to give him that title?

"Right now, the way the game's played, he's up there as the best defensive player that's out there right now, no question about it," Mullin said of Green's claim. "The way he played tonight? He was one of the best players ever in the history of the game, because he was defensive, he was offensive, he was leading. He did everything."

One of the best players ever, even if just for one night. That's some high praise from someone who knows what it takes to be one of the best.

Mullin didn't stop there with the compliments.

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"Look, they're getting ready to go to their fifth Finals in a row," Mullin said of the Warriors. "Steve Kerr is getting close to where Red Auerbach was -- that's saying something. And all these players are falling in line with all the legends of the game, whether it be [Larry] Bird, Magic [Johnson], [Michael] Jordan ... they're up in that category with their team and their individual performances."

After winning Game 3, only one more victory lies between the Warriors and that fifth consecutive NBA Finals berth. If Green keeps playing like a Hall of Famer, that's bound to happen sooner rather than later.

Marreese Speights discusses joining BIG3 prior to coronavirus pandemic

Marreese Speights discusses joining BIG3 prior to coronavirus pandemic

Marreese Speights didn’t have an extended tenure with the Warriors, but it was full of exciting moments.

The reliable stretch four was a valuable reserve in Golden State, including being part of the 2015 NBA championship team. Since leaving the Bay Area after the 2015-16 season, Speights has played for two other NBA teams and spent a few seasons playing in the Chinese Basketball Association.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak putting a hold on American sports, Speights was slated to join the BIG3 via one of the league’s new expansion franchises.

“I just think it’s a platform for me to play basketball,” Speights said on a special, virtual edition of “Warriors Outsiders" last week. “I did a lot of things in the NBA, I won a championship, that’s the most important goal.

“So for me, being back to playing basketball is just gonna be fun.”

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The roar Speights would get if he took the floor at Chase Center sometime in the future would be incredible.

The league was scheduled to get underway in June, although it remains to be seen when many American sports will be able to pick things back up after this extended hiatus.

Eleven players Warriors could target with taxpayer mid-level exception

Eleven players Warriors could target with taxpayer mid-level exception

General manager Bob Myers and the Warriors front office have some work to do whenever the NBA offseason begins.

After five straight NBA Finals appearances, the Warriors have the worst record in the NBA this season.

So, it’s up to Myers and Co. to add a few pieces that will help the Warriors get back into contention for an NBA title.

In addition to having one of the top picks in the 2020 NBA Draft and a massive $17.2 million trade exception acquired in the Andre Iguodala deal, the Warriors will have the ability to use the taxpayer mid-level exception, which ESPN’s Bobby Marks estimated will be around $5.9 million.

That number is based on the salary cap, and if that number goes down due to the loss of revenue caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, the value of the taxpayer mid-level exception could shrink as well.

Hard capped by the D’Angelo Russell-Kevin Durant trade with Brooklyn last summer, the Warriors couldn’t go over the luxury tax line this past season. But in 2020-21, the hard cap is gone and Draymond Green’s contract extension kicks in, meaning Golden State will cross the luxury tax threshold.

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The Warriors can use the entire taxpayer MLE to sign one player or they can split up the total to sign several players.

Here are 11 pending free agents, in no particular order, that the Warriors could use the Taxpayer MLE on this offseason: