Many believe that the preseason altercation between Draymond Green and Jordan Poole set the tone for the Warriors' 2022-23 NBA season.
And Green himself is one of those people.
Green spoke with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith on a broadcast of "Stephen A's World" during Game 1 of the Western Conference finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets on Tuesday and explained how his punching Poole resulted in a domino effect that hindered the Warriors in the first half of the season.
"We're not playing right now, because when you speak about the fouling, when you speak about all of the slippage we had as a team on the road, not being able to come together," Green said. "None of those things happen if that doesn't happen, because the voice that I am and the departments that I lead this team in, there was a ton of slippage due to me sitting back, me not saying anything, me trying to allow that situation to play itself out and give it time to heal."
Green eventually felt comfortable enough to retain his status as one of the Warriors' vocal leaders, but at that point in the season, it was too late for Golden State, who already had developed bad habits.
"I would say probably about February I started to feel like myself again and speak more," Green explained. "But guess what, there was five months of the season where slippage has just been occurring. And by February, if that slippage has been going on that long, you are who you are. At that point, you've built those habits, that is who you are now.
"So to try and correct them then ... it's like OK you might get a little better, we did, we ended up in the second round of the playoffs. But not at a championship level."
RELATED: Spotlight shines on if Poole's still a foundational player
Green and the Warriors stumbled into the playoffs and were able to fend off the playoff-hungry Sacramento Kings in the first round, but ultimately fell to the red-hot Lakers, who took advantage of the inconsistent and undisciplined Warriors in the semifinals.
However, had Green and Poole's altercation not happened on that fateful preseason day, Golden State might have worked out its kinks early on in the season and still could be competing in the playoffs to this day.