Programming note: Watch the NBA Finals pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Thursday, May 30 at 4:00 p.m., streaming live on the MyTeams app.
Draymond Green is almost always at his best when his best is required.
Therefore, the Warriors forward embodies "competitive greatness," which is at the very top of John Wooden's "Pyramid of Success."
"Over the course of my career, I've been able to elevate my level of play in the postseason -- whether that was NCAA Tournament or playoffs," Draymond told reporters after practice Thursday. "I don't know. I think some people kind of just have that. The stakes are bigger, and you're able to increase your level of focus; increase your intensity level.
"I'm blessed and thankful that I have that. I can't sit here and act like, 'it's just me and macho.' I think some people have that and some people don't. I think I'm just blessed to have that ability ... to be able to rise to that occasion."
If you don't believe this to be true, let's compare the three-time NBA champion's per-game numbers:
- Regular season: 11.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.3 blocks
- Playoffs: 13.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.2 blocks
- Regular season: 14.0 points. 9.5 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.4 blocks
- Playoffs: 15.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.8 blocks
-Regular season: 10.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.4 blocks
-Playoffs: 13.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.6 blocks
- Regular season: 11.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.3 blocks
- Playoffs: 10.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 8.1 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.5 blocks
- Regular season: 7.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.1 blocks
- Playoffs: 13.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, 8.2 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.7 blocks
The majority of players get worse in the playoffs when things get harder. It's the opposite for Draymond.
The day before the Warriors completed the sweep of the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals, the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year said he views playoff games as "life or death."
Has that mentality always been there?
"My third year [the 2014-15 NBA season], when I was a starter, it's been that way since," Draymond told reporters at the time. "That's just the way it feels to me. I remember the first time we won the Finals -- it was like somebody had a clamp on my lungs and I didn't breathe well for seven weeks. And then when we won, it was like, 'Wow. Someone just took the clamp and I could breathe again.'
"That's just how it's felt for me since I've been a starter and playing in the playoffs. And I try to keep that feeling because it means something. And I think it should mean something.
"Leave it all out there and if it don't work out, you can live with that. But I can't live with myself knowing that I didn't leave it all out there when it mattered most."
The Warriors are lucky to have Draymond Green.