Warriors

Draymond Green lost 23 pounds for Warriors' playoff run at Bob Myers' behest

Draymond Green lost 23 pounds for Warriors' playoff run at Bob Myers' behest

Draymond Green scored 17 points in Game 1 of the Warriors' first-round NBA playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers.

It should come as no surprise that Green is playing better now that the playoffs are here. After all, he did drop 23 pounds just for the occasion.

Yes, you read that right.

With Green struggling mightily through the first half of the season, Warriors general manager Bob Myers went to the forward after the All-Star break to suggest he try and slim down.

“Draymond,” Myers said then, via The Athletic's Marcus Thompson. “I’mma tell you something you may not want to hear.”

Green was ready.

“All right. I’m listening,” Green said.

“If we’re going to win a championship,” Myers said, “you’ve got to get in shape.”

While Myers prepared for his mercurial forward to explode, Green knew that's what he had to do. In fact, he already had a plan in place.

"Yeah, I start this strenuous regimen on March 6,” Green said. “It’ll take me like two weeks, maybe like 10 days, to really get to where I need to be.”

It worked as Green dropped 23 pounds over six weeks thanks to a strict diet and intense strength training regimen. He has seen his game rise as a result.

Over the final 17 regular-season games, Green held opponents to 37.2 percent shooting and has ramped it up in the playoffs, holding the Clippers to 36.6 percent when he's the primary defender. 

[RELATED: Draymond Green rediscovers shooting touch in Game 1]

Also of importance is Green's overall health. The forward battled knee, ankle and toe injuries throughout the early part of the season, but he finally is healthy and in peak shape. 

Of course, Green's improved play is even more paramount after DeMarcus Cousins' injury in Game 2.

With the center expected to miss the remainder of the playoffs, Green's presence on both ends of the floor will be all the more important if the Warriors are to win their third straight NBA title.

Warriors predictions: How new trio of stars could finish statistically

Warriors predictions: How new trio of stars could finish statistically

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 90 minutes before each home game and 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

The Warriors are on the cusp of a new era of basketball at Chase Center. Led by familiar faces in Steve Kerr, Steph Curry, Draymond Green (and from the sideline Klay Thompson) the Warriors are about to embark on a season that will feature a youthful roster with a new look.

With a revamped cast of characters will come different team strategy and chemistry that should lead to bigger responsibilities for key Warriors.

Here are some statistical predictions for these players:

Steph Curry

Over 32 points per game
Over 14 three-point attempts per game

It has been well-chronicled how much the Warriors will rely on Steph to lead them this season, and with that will come an increase in usage on the court. Curry's season-high scoring average was 30.1 points per game in his unanimous MVP season of 2015-16.

That season, he attempted a little over 20 field goals a game and 11 three-pointers a game. I expect both of those numbers to rise, especially his attempts from long distance.

Last season Curry took a career-high 11.7 shots per game from deep, but that included him sharing the ball with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. With an increase in volume, opposing defense's attention and more energy exertion could come with a less glossy shooting efficiency, especially from within the arc.

But if the Warriors have any chance at "surprising" folks this season, Steph is going to have to lead the charge and insert himself back into the MVP conversation. These numbers should do that.

Draymond Green

Over 33 percent three-point percentage

Since the 2015-16 campaign in which Green shot a career-high three-point percentage of nearly 39 percent, his ability from long-range has faltered.

ver the past three seasons, Draymond has not surpassed 31 percent from deep, which has allowed defenses to sag off of him and dare him to shoot. This season he will have the green light to shoot more, which should help his confidence to fire away even when his shot is not falling earlier in the game.

It is highly unlikely that Green ever repeats his 39 percent mark, but shooting over 33 percent would be enough to keep a defense more honest, and allow more spacing for the offense. 

D'Angelo Russell

Over 23 points per game
Over 38 percent three-point percentage

Like Curry, the Warriors will be relying on Russell to put up points and lead their offense.

The staggering between Curry and Russell's minutes will help him get the rhythm and volume he needs to reach a new career-high in points per game, surpassing the 21.1 he scored last season with the Nets.

On the flip side, when Curry and Russell share the floor, D'Angelo will have more open shots than he has ever experienced before in his young NBA career, which in turn should be able to raise his three-point percentage over his career-high from last season, 36.9 percent.

[RELATED: KD forgives Raptors fans, but says Warriors fans are better]

The ingredients are in place for the 23-year-old to shine with his new team.

One ESPN NBA analyst picks Warriors to beat Clippers in West Finals

One ESPN NBA analyst picks Warriors to beat Clippers in West Finals

If you're a Warriors fan and don't love NBA analyst Kirk Goldsberry, that's about to change.

On Tuesday morning, ESPN released predictions for the 2019-20 season, and Mr. Goldsberry is the only staffer picking the Warriors to advance to the NBA Finals.

The former VP of strategic research for the San Antonio Spurs has Golden State defeating the LA Clippers in the Western Conference finals.

So, Goldsberry must have the Warriors winning the title, right? Wrong. He picked the Milwaukee Bucks to bring home the hardware.

At the very least, Goldsberry had to have picked Steph Curry to win MVP, or Draymond to be Defensive Player of the Year, or Steve Kerr as Coach of the Year, right?

Nope, nope and nope again.

[RELATEDMagic explains why Jordan says Steph not Hall of Famer yet]

Goldsberry chose Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo as MVP, Utah's Rudy Gobert as DPOY and Miami's Erik Spolestra as the top coach.

Quick tangent: If you haven't read Goldsberry's book "Sprawlball," go get yourself a copy. It's fantastic.

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