Draymond Green certainly ruffled some feathers with his recent comments that the Warriors needed Kevin Durant in order to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals all those years ago.
The main reasons, Green said during a live podcast taping in New York on Monday, were that Steph Curry wasn’t yet strong enough to score whenever he wanted in 2017 and 2018, and other teams had figured the Warriors out.
They needed a player who could take the ball and go get a bucket, he added, and Durant stepped in as that guy.
Two championship rings earned against LeBron James and the Cavaliers followed, and Green credited Durant.
“But the reality is, I don’t think that team wins another championship if Kevin doesn’t come,” Green said Monday night. “… We would not have beat the Cavs coming back around without Kevin.”
Of course, Curry, Green and the Warriors beat the Cavaliers in 2015 and then nearly did the same in 2016. But after Green infamously was suspended for Game 5 of that second Finals series, Cleveland stormed back from a three-games-to-one deficit to historically thwart Golden State’s repeat.
During Fox Sports’ “First Things First” on Wednesday, Chris Broussard slammed Green for seemingly overlooking Curry’s impact on Golden State’s middle rings.
“I’m sure Steph’s mature enough to just let it bounce off his back. I don’t think he’ll worry about it,” Broussard told host Nick Wright. “But the fact is, Nick, Draymond is not making sense.”
Broussard went down the line and addressed each of Green’s claims.
“First of all, you said Steph couldn’t create his own shot, to your point. Well, OK. He averaged 30, all right, he was the unanimous MVP that season,” he said. “It seemed like he was fine, OK?"
The analyst also wondered why Green said Curry was being double-teamed so much back then if he wasn’t able to create his own shots. Then he disagreed that teams had “figured out” the Warriors by 2016, implying that the Golden State veteran was to blame for that Finals loss because of his suspension.
“... They were destroying the Cavs, and then Draymond gets suspended and the rest is history,” Broussard said. “So I don’t know if he was just trying to avoid implicating himself, but that was the reality.”
The broadcast threw a graphic up onto the screen showing that during the Durant era, the Warriors had a higher winning percentage when Curry played without Durant than they did when Durant played without Curry.
While Green made it clear he believes Curry’s growth over the years is what has transformed the Warriors organization into the powerhouse it is today, Broussard obviously disagreed with some of the other things he said.
Green ended his own comments about Durant on Monday with a bold prediction that Curry will lead them to win three of the next four Finals -- a prediction about the future after remembering the past.