Warriors

Draymond's will to win goes beyond Dubs' place in standings

Warriors

After sitting atop the NBA for five years, the Warriors spent last year floundering at the bottom of the standings. This season, Golden State is fighting for any remnants of good, consistent basketball.

Rather than competing for a championship, the Warriors are pushing for one of the play-in seeds -- the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th positions -- in the Western Conference.

It's a 180-degree turn from Draymond Green's first seven seasons, when he developed a taste for winning at the highest level. Green won a lot at Michigan State and in high school, but he had never won as he did during the Warriors' dynastic run.

Because of that, his goals and reasons for motivation haven't changed during the Warriors' two up-and-down seasons.

"Fighting for a play-in spot does not motivate me," Green said after the Warriors' 116-109 road loss to the Miami Heat on Thursday night. "I don't go into these games thinking at all, 'Hey, we're right on the fringe. We need to win these games for the play-in spot.' No. I want to win every game I play in because I hate losing. That s--t really bothers me. That's what motivates me, not fighting for some play-in spot. I don't really give a damn about the play-in spots to be honest with you. I want to win every time I step on the floor. That's what motivates me.

"I hate f---ing losing. So when I step on the floor, I want to win."

 

Well, the Warriors currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference with 23-25 record, 5.5 games behind sixth -- the spot which would allow them to avoid the play-in games. With a loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday, Golden State would fall three games below .500 for the first time all season.

But according to Green -- the man who hates to lose -- it hasn't necessarily been a hard season. Not basketball-wise, at least.

Green hasn't focused on the ups and downs, nor has he sulked. Instead, he has adopted a more forward-thinking mindset. 

"I focus on how can I help develop these young guys quicker," Green said. "How can I help them in any way I can? Help get them where we need them to be in order to win at a high level. I think it's all about what you focus on. And for me, I just try to put my focus into that and helping these guys. Because if I put my focus into solely just winning, then I would be pissed off and I probably wouldn't help these guys the way I need to help them."

Up until last season, Green was one of the younger guys. He wasn't as inexperienced as James Wiseman, Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole, Nico Mannion and Juan Toscano-Anderson are, but relative to likes of Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, Green wasn't considered a vet. 

During that time, he didn't have to carry the responsibility of being a teacher or someone young players would turn to for advice and guidance. Because of that, he was allowed to get more carried away with his antics around winning. He could be constantly pissed off after a loss because he wasn't the main one the Warriors depended on to get them out of it. 

But then again, the losing never lasted quite as long. 

"Don't get me wrong, the mindset is always to win," Green said. "That's hard to turn on and off, the mindset to win. In my opinion, winning is a mindset. Winning is a mentality. So I don't turn my mindset off to win, but I just try to go into it with an understanding. It's not going to be what it was in 2018, 2019, it's not going to be that. So just trying to have a better understanding for everything and what it truly is."

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Green has been a mentor for Wiseman, and other players as well, because he adopted this mindset. You could even say Green is more patient, but he hasn't lowered his standards.

If the Warriors are on the cusp of a play-in game, let alone actually playing in one, Green will do everything in his power to help his team win. But don't get it confused.

It's because Green needs to win every game he plays. It has nothing to do with the Warriors' current circumstances.

 

"No play-in game is going to motivate me at this point of my career," Gren said. "That's just kind of what it is. Playoff basketball is definitely motivating. But play-in games don't motivate me. That won't change today, tomorrow, in a month or two, or two years from now. I want to win. That's enough motivation for me."

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