Draymond Green playing best ball of career? Steve Kerr makes bold statement

Draymond Green playing best ball of career? Steve Kerr makes bold statement

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Thursday at 6:00pm P.T., streaming live on the MyTeams app.

During the 2015-16 season, Draymond Green averaged career highs in points (14.0), rebounds (9.5), assists (7.4), field goal percentage (49.0) and 3-point percentage (38.8).

He received his first All-Star nod, made Second-Team All-NBA, was runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year, and probably would have been Finals MVP had the Warriors won Game 7 (remember when he racked up 32 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists?)

It was without a doubt the best season of his career, which is why it was interesting to hear Steve Kerr make the following declaration after practice on Wednesday:

"He's playing as well as I've ever seen him play," the head coach told reporters. "The assist-to-turnover ratio is spectacular -- kind of unheard of. It's not just the assists -- it's the push, it's the constant pressure he's putting on the defense. And then picking up the ball if nothing's there and then moving it on.

"It's a highly underrated skill in the NBA because just being able to force the defense to react ... so even on these possessions where he's not getting assists, he's putting our offense in position score and to attack."

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Following the Warriors' blowout loss to the Lakers on Christmas Day -- when Draymond airballed a 3-pointer, committed four turnovers and fouled out -- did you think that just a month later Kerr would say something like this?

Since then, the three-time All-Star is averaging 7.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 8.4 assists (and only 1.9 turnovers), 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks, while shooting 43.5 percent overall and 31.4 percent from deep.

Those numbers don't necessarily jump off the page, and don't stand up to the 13.1 points, 11.5 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.3 blocks Draymond averaged through the first two rounds of last year's playoffs. 

But Draymond's value and impact go beyond the box score and Kerr probably just wanted to publicly praise the guy who has taken his fair share of criticism this season both internally and externally.

You aren't going to find a bigger Draymond supporter than yours truly, and you can expect him to play some incredible basketball moving forward. But let's just say that I respectfully disagree with Kerr in this instance...

On a more important note -- today we learned that Draymond's favorite fruit is the orange and his favorite vegetable is zuchinni. He also dominated this game:

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Warriors' Steve Kerr hopes to ease Jordan Poole's G League transition

Warriors' Steve Kerr hopes to ease Jordan Poole's G League transition

SAN FRANCISCO -- Warriors rookie guard Jordan Poole has struggled mightily in his first season in the Bay Area. In an effort to combat his troubles, Golden State plans to send the guard to its G League affiliate at an undetermined date. 

"There's nothing set in stone yet," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said following practice Tuesday morning. "He'll eventually be there. That's a big part of our development process. Santa Cruz has been a big asset over the years. A lot of players go back and forth, so it'll happen for Jordan at some point."

The Warriors' decision -- first reported Monday by NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole -- comes as Poole's early season is in peril. Over his first 24 appearances, he's shooting just 25.8 percent from the field. In Golden State's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night, he collected his first "Did Not Play -- Coach's Decision" distinction, watching all 48 minutes from the bench. 

Poole's playing time this season has come as injuries have mounted. With much of the backcourt -- including All-Star guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson -- out of the lineup, Poole is averaging 24 minutes per game,

Kerr admitted he didn't plan for that strategy when the first-round pick was drafted in June. 

"We've thrown too much at him too fast," he said. "But that's because we've had no choice." 

Last month, Poole shot down any notion that he was concerned with his play, telling NBC Sports Bay Area, "Doing that got me here. Why would I change?" 

However, Kerr had a different tone Tuesday afternoon. When asked wht contributed to Poole's struggles, he cited the 20-year old's age in relation to fellow rookies Eric Paschall (23) and Ky Bowman (22). 

"It's a hard transition from college to pro, but particularly when you're 20 years old and only played two years of college ball," Kerr said. "You're still getting stronger, you're growing, you're maturing. It's easier for a four-year guy like Eric Paschall or (three-year college player) Ky Bowman to come into the NBA. Those few extra years are a big difference.

"That first year it's about figuring everything out, shot selection, defense. Different actions that you have to guard. The speed and strength of your opponent. It's all brand-new.' 

Golden State has had success sending players to the G League in recent years. Last season, guard Jacob Evans averaged 11.3 points. 3.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 21 appearances with the Santa Cruz Warriors. Former Warriors Jordan Bell, Quinn Cook and Patrick McCaw also spent time in Santa Cruz when they were with Golden State. 

"It's a good wake-up call," Kerr said. "It's not all chartered planes and Four Seasons. You've got to grind through the G League schedule, which is not easy. That's important for young players to feel, too. It's a good situation for us and really for the whole league."

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As for Poole, Kerr said the rookie has been working hard despite his bad play. Following Monday's loss, he went through an hour shooting workout in the team's practice facility inside Chase Center. Prior to games, he frequently watches film with assistant Chris DeMarco, giving Kerr optimism Poole can get out of his slump. 

"He's figuring it out and we're helping him along and he's going to grow," Kerr said. "This is going to be a very productive year for him."

Steph Curry says sitting with broken hand 'hardest thing' in career

Steph Curry says sitting with broken hand 'hardest thing' in career

The 2019-20 season has been extremely rough for the Warriors.

It's been even worse for Steph Curry.

“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” the two-time NBA MVP recently told Marcus Thompson of The Athletic.


Remember, Curry underwent surgery on his right ankle in May 2011, and then was limited to just 26 (of 66) games during the 2011-12 lockout season.

He had a second procedure in April 2012, and as ESPN's Pablo Torre wrote in February 2016: "Curry didn't know if he'd wake up owning a dead man's tendons. The worst-case scenario now? Total re-reconstruction, meaning that everything rebuilt in Curry's first surgery would be reattempted. If that proved necessary, they'd use better parts -- specifically, tendons from a cadaver."

He sprained his right MCL during the 2016 playoffs, missed four games and wasn't at full strength the remainder of the postseason.

In 2016-17, he made only 51 regular-season appearances, and didn't return until Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals because of a sprained left MCL.

Yet none of that stacks up to his current predicament -- a broken left hand. The three-time NBA champion sustained the injury Oct. 30 against the Suns, and will be sidelined until February at the earliest.

In the end, he might end up missing about 75 percent of the season.

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“I’ve always been (injured) mostly during the offseason," he told Thompson. "That year was the lockout year, so it was a much shorter time on the shelf.

"I’m going to lose my mind.”

This makes sense. He just wants to play.

Get well, Steph. But also -- hurry back. The NBA needs you.

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