Kent Bazemore made his first appearance for the Warriors in three games against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, which just happened to coincide with Draymond Green's first game of the season. The two veterans are in their second go-around as teammates after Bazemore signed with Golden State in free agency, and while the times have changed, he says Green has not.
"No different," Bazemore told NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke in a 1-on-1 interview earlier this week when asked to compare a young Green to the one he knows today. "Draymond has always played with an intense level of passion. I feel like now, obviously he's more comfortable with who he is, and it's beneficial to all of us. We practiced today and he hadn't been practicing as much, but he was full-on today and the energy is totally different.
"His impact on the floor, how he has learned to see the court, how he has really elevated -- people give him knocks about what he does offensively, but the guy changes the game on both ends of the floor."
To highlight Green's importance to the Warriors, Bazemore referenced his controversial suspension for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals, mentioning that both he and Green agree Golden State would have won the title that season had he not been suspended. Bazemore can speak from experience, having won a championship with Green -- albeit one of far less significance -- early on in their NBA careers.
"We were captains in Vegas Summer League back in 2013, where we ended up winning the championship there," Bazemore continued. "That's a guy you want to go to war with. Super proud of what he has accomplished, coming in, second-round pick and just kind of paving his way and making his own way."
As an undrafted free agent, Bazemore overcame a similar path to Green in establishing himself as an NBA player. Now reunited, they can help pave the Warriors' path forward together -- again.