Warriors

Draymond Jr. steals show as Dubs foster family environment

Warriors
Draymond Jr.

Over the last decade or so, the Warriors have made sure to welcome the children of their players with open arms.

Steph Curry's three kids are well-known. Zaza Pachulia's two sons have spent a lot of time around the facility. Andre Iguodala's son was part of the Warriors' 2014-15 NBA title celebration on the podium.

And now, the world is getting to know Draymond Green's son, Draymond Jr. aka DJ.

On Monday, two days shy of his fifth birthday, Draymond Jr. got to spend the night working next to his dad as the Warriors took on the Kings at Chase Center.

Draymond Jr. served as the assistant to Eric Housen, the Warriors' director of team operations. DJ's assignment was simple: Hand towels, t-shirts and masks to the players on the bench.

Needless to say, DJ stole the show Monday night, and he got rave reviews from members of the Warriors.

"I thought DJ was really solid," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the Warriors' 113-98 win over the Kings. "His hustle up and down the sidelines was very impressive. He's got a lot to learn though. He's a young guy and we just got to give him more reps."

Gary Payton II, who knows a thing or two about hanging around NBA arenas with his famous father, was thoroughly impressed by Draymond Jr.

"Little Dray, DJ, he was amazing, helping out every way he can," Payton II said. "He made a couple big plays in the second half, so shoutout to DJ."

 

The larger picture is that Draymond was able to spend quality time with his son a few days before Christmas when he won't be home because the Warriors have to play on the road against the Phoenix Suns.

For Kerr, fostering an inclusive family environment is important to him, and he cited his personal experience when explaining why he allowed Draymond Jr. to help Housen on Monday.

"I still remember when my son, Nick, was a ball boy in Dallas one night when I was playing with the Spurs and Pop invited him to do it," Kerr said. "We flew on the team plane and he was a ball boy, it was one of the highlights of my career. I always remember that and I always want to be able to do that for our players.

"I remember when Zaza's two boys came on an East Coast trip a few years back and it was just amazing to watch them blossom during the 10 days where they were scared to say anything on Day 1 and then calling out 'First bus' on Day 7 at the end of shootaround trying to get the guys to head back to the hotel. It's always fun to have family involved. It lightens everything up and I think guys really enjoyed it."

Damion Lee, who recently became a father for the first time, offered a unique perspective on what Draymond Jr. got to experience Monday night.

"It's huge, man. Back when the world was open, family would be able to fly on the plane. The only thing Steve and the front office want you to worry about is what you do on the court," Lee said. "It's huge and it's exciting because, think about DJ, he's what, four, right now? Turns five on Wednesday.

"When he's 15, he still won't realize the magnitude of what he was doing when his dad and them were at the height of their run, being around Steph, being around Klay [Thompson]. But him rebounding for Steph, rebounding for Klay, rebounding for his dad, passing, being in this atmosphere, that's only going to [push] him to be the best at whatever he does because he's around the best every single day."

Kerr and the entire Warriors' organization always seem to have a good read on every situation, and in this case, they know it's important for the players to spend time with their kids. The grind of an NBA season is tough. The Warriors just got back from a 10-day East Coast road trip and they will be away from their families on Christmas Day.

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As the Warriors were closing in on the win over the Kings, Draymond Jr. was caught dancing in front of the Warriors' bench.

That seems like a perfect way to end a perfect day for the youngster. Someday when he is older, Draymond will remind DJ of the time he fist-bumped Curry during a game in the prime of his career.

 

It won't seem real, but there will be video to prove it actually happened. Not a bad early birthday present for Draymond Jr.