Draymond Green is an elite communicator, both on the court and off it.
The Warriors star forward has been a guest analyst for the NBA playoffs on TNT, and his breakdown of the Washington Wizards' future following their first-round playoff exit raised eyebrows everywhere. In dissecting the Wizards' path forward with Bradley Beal, Green also appeared to say a lot about the current state of the Warriors and how best to build a championship roster around veteran stars.
"If you're not committing to [Russell Westbrook] long term, Brad may have something to say about that," Green said Wednesday night. "Because who are you bringing in to replace Russ? Because Russ isn't an easy guy to replace."
When co-analyst Kenny Smith suggested the Wizards surround Beal with young draft picks, Green offered a critique of that form of roster building.
"If that is the case and you are bringing back draft picks, that doesn't help Bradley Beal who is going into Year 10 of his career," Green said. "I think, number one, they have to decide whether they are committed to Russ long-term. And if they are, as y'all said, then it is time to go get other veterans. But getting draft picks and placing them next to two All-Stars, that don't work."
It's that last part that got a lot of people's attention.
After Kevin Durant left in the summer of 2019, the Warriors embarked on a mission to rebuild and reignite their dynasty around Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Green. But after landing the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and acquiring the rights to the Minnesota Timberwolves' top-three protected first-round pick in 2021, the Warriors' plan became one of two visions.
The plan was still to rebuild a championship roster around Curry, Thompson and Green, but to do while also building for the future around No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman and another top draft pick to come either this summer or next. (The Timberwolves will give the Warriors their first-round pick in 2022 if the 2021 selection doesn't convey.)
The Warriors' first go at trying to win while developing young talent was rocky, to say the least. The Warriors stumbled around the .500 mark for most of the year even with Curry playing the best basketball of his career. The Warriors' numbers with Curry and Wiseman on the court together were troubling, and it is even more troubling that the Warriors hit their stride at the end of the season once Wiseman was ruled out with a meniscus injury.
Wiseman only is 20 years old and the developmental timeline for NBA bigs is long. The Warriors believe Wiseman has an incredibly high ceiling and president of basketball operations Bob Myers said in his season-ending press conference that he doesn't want to trade the young center.
But what is also clear is that Curry, Green and Thompson need more help if they plan to contend for titles during the remaining years of their prime.
While Wiseman and whomever the Warriors select with their one or two first-round picks this summer will have massive potential, that won't fit with the timeline Curry, Thompson and Green are on. They need veteran help. Established players who have been in high-pressure playoff situations and don't need to be pulled along for the ride.
Green knows where the Warriors currently find themselves. He has been complimentary of Wiseman and also believes the 20-year-old has a bright NBA future. But Green also knows their championship clock is ticking, and they can't afford another year slogging around the bottom of the Western Conference while trying to get teenagers ready for the playoff fights they want to win.
If you want to say Green was only talking about the Wizards' situation that's your prerogative. But it can also be said that he was sending a message to Myers, Steve Kerr and the Warriors, one he undoubtedly has already shared in private.
Curry is a once-in-a-generation talent. Green and Thompson are ticketed for the Hall of Fame. Homegrown triumvirates like this don't come around often. Don't waste what time they have left planning for what could be after they are gone.
Go all-in to get back to the top. Save the future planning for another time.