Draymond puts troubles in the past while proving vast worth to Warriors

Draymond puts troubles in the past while proving vast worth to Warriors

It was during Draymond Green’s five months of fury that the conjecture began to surface. At the essence of it was whether his high-velocity characteristics were threatening the blindingly bright future of the team, if not Green himself.

There was enough concern that folks in front offices around the league would mention Green’s name in the same sentence as that of the former Ron Artest.

Which led to the obvious question: Might the Warriors and their much-envied chemistry, be better off without Green and his occasionally exasperating behavior?

The Warriors, for their part, consistently closed that door. Slammed it shut, put a lock on it and walked away. Draymond, they said, not only was the catalyst but also intelligent enough to survive this spell of nonsense and disobedience. We’ve talked with him and we’re confident he’ll be fine, they said.

Folks within the organization didn’t say much about his importance to their success. They didn’t have to. We’ve seen it before. And, now, not quite a month into the season, we’re seeing it more than ever.

Regardless of where one sets the parameters – the eye test, the stats watch or stats within the stats examination – Green’s defense is the bedrock upon which the Warriors championship hopes rest. That the team’s defense, the subject of considerable concern two weeks into the season, is gradually improving is largely a result of Green realizing and accepting his altered role, and thriving within it.

Already the team’s most versatile defender, he has, out of necessity, become its top rim protector.

Green has finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year voting, behind Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, in each of the past two seasons and admits he wants to nab it this season. Green’s statement a couple days ago, that he has been “incredible defensively,” is a left turn into self-promotion.

It’s also the truth.

“I hope he wins,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Monday night in Indianapolis, after the Warriors swept a four-game road trip. “It’s one of those votes that the last couple years could have gone either way. But I would love to see Draymond rewarded for his efforts, but those things you can’t control.

“All I know is I’ve been thrilled with Draymond’s play at both ends. He’s been absolutely phenomenal.”

Green leads the Warriors in rebounds per game (9.1, 18th in the NBA), blocks (1.71, 11th in the NBA) and steals (2.21, fourth). His defensive real plus/minus (3.13) shares the rarified airs of such defensive-oriented centers as DeAndre Jordan (league-best 3.85), Andrew Bogut (3.25) and Rudy Gobert (3.14). Green stands 6-foot-6. Each of the others are at least 6-11.

If it seems that Green short-circuits opposing offenses several times a game, it’s because he does. Sometimes, it’s by blocking a shot. Other times, it’s by disrupting their action on consecutive possessions. Sometimes, it’s simply by anticipating that which is obvious only to him.

There are many terrific on-ball defenders, and Green is among them. There are plenty of passing-lane vultures, and he is among them, too. There are maybe 10 imposing paint presences, and he is the shortest among them – by far.

There are precious few that can change the game from most any spot on the defensive end, and Green conceivably is the best in today’s NBA.

“He's covering a lot of ground for us guarding one through five," teammate Kevin Durant said Monday night. "Rebounding, blocking shots, he's doing it all. That stuff is a popularity contest, so my campaign starts now: Draymond Green for Defensive Player of the Year. So hopefully (voters) realize what he does on the court, the small things that go into being a great defender."

The Warriors are scoring a league-best 117.1 points per game, while giving up 106.8 points, ranking 22nd in the NBA. More pertinent given the pace at which they play, the Warriors are seventh in both field-goal percentage defense (opponents are shooting 43.7) and adjusted field-goal percentage defense (48.8).

Think those numbers would apply if they had given up on Green? If those troubling months of irresponsible driving and confronting his coach and picking up technical fouls and late-night misadventures had been too much for the Warriors to bear?

“He’s in a great place,” Kerr said of Green. “He’s backed up everything he said this summer, when he said he grew and he realized he needed to grow. And he has grown. There is zero drama. He’s just playing. He’s putting his head down and playing as hard as he can. He’s been great in the locker room.

“I really think Draymond has taken another step.”

There will be moments when Green chafes his teammates. He will annoy. Like matriculating education or eating fresh crab, he requires tolerance. It’s work, it’s irritating and it can try one’s patience. But it’s almost always worth it.

Hawks sign Santa Cruz Warriors center Deyonta Davis to 10-day contract


Hawks sign Santa Cruz Warriors center Deyonta Davis to 10-day contract

Deyonta Davis is headed back to The Association.

The Santa Cruz Warriors big man signed a 10-day contract with the Hawks, both teams announced on Tuesday morning.

Atlanta's general manager Travis Schlenk used to be Golden State's assistant GM.

Davis was the 31st overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. In 62 games (six starts) with the Grizzlies during the 2017-18 season, he averaged 5.8 points and 4.0 rebounds.

Last summer, he was traded to the Kings in the deal that sent Garrett Temple to Memphis. Sacramento waived Davis in September and he ended up accepting a training camp invite with Golden State -- knowing he would soon be sent to Santa Cruz.

The 22-year made 43 appearances with the Sea Dubs this year and has been tremendous over his last 11 games -- 15.8 points and 9.8 rebounds on a ridiculous 66 percent from the field.

G League players sign deals with the league itself, not a specific G League team. They can be signed at any time by any NBA franchise.

Therefore, even though Davis played for Golden State's G League affiliate in Santa Cruz, Golden State would have needed to sign Davis to a 10-day contract to call him up. And after signing Andrew Bogut, Golden State did not have an open roster spot.

[RELATEDAndrew Bogut delivers funny soundbites before Warriors season debut]

The Santa Cruz Warriors (31-16) are currently tied for second place in the Western Conference. They have clinched a spot in the playoffs, which begin next week.

All games are broadcast on NBC Sports Bay Area or NBC Sports Bay Area Plus and the My Teams App.

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Mike Trout contract compared to Joe Lacob, Peter Guber buying Warriors

Mike Trout contract compared to Joe Lacob, Peter Guber buying Warriors

There's always other fish in the sea, but none quite as rich as Mike Trout.

The Angels superstar center fielder reportedly is nearing a 12-year, $430 million contract extension, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported on Tuesday. Trout's extension will amount to the largest contract in sports history and the first over $400 million. 

But this storyline becomes a whole lot crazier when there's a Warriors twist. Yes, a Warriors angle for this rich Angel.

Trout's contract extension is only $20 million less than Joe Lacob and Peter Guber paid to buy the Warriors in 2010.

When the tandem of Lacob and Guber bought the Warriors for $450 million in July of 2010, the price seemed extremely excessive. Golden State was coming off only one postseason appearance in the last 16 years, and the 2009-10 team won a total of 26 games. 

It looks like these guys knew what they were doing.

Put aside the NBA Finals for a second. Forget about Steph Curry being a two-time MVP and adding a player like Kevin Durant. The price to buy the Warriors is now a steal. 

Forbes valued the Warriors to be worth $3.5 billion just this past month. Since the purchase, the Warriors have become one of the most successful sports franchises of all time, and the team is set to open a new state-of-the-art arena in San Francisco.

[RELATED: Warriors announce Metallica, SF Symphony as inaugural Chase Center event]

Nearly nine years later, it's safe to say Lacob and Guber really were light years ahead of the league when they bought the Warriors.