As one of the Warriors' primary leaders, Draymond Green has a particular tactic to figure out which leadership style each of his teammates responds to best.
Some need a calmer, gentler approach. Others prefer a louder, more in-your-face teaching style. It's crucial to decipher who is who early.
Green's way of doing this is relatively simple: he trash-talks them in practice and waits to see how they respond.
"You have to know who you’re standing next to on the battlefield," Green said on the "Dubs Talk" podcast a few weeks ago. "You have to know if something jumps off, if I get into something or some else gets into something, is this guy going to help me? Or is this going to be a guy who I need to help? I think that matters."
One young player who Green quickly discovered would be a guy to help him out is Jordan Poole.
It was one of the first scrimmages during training camp ahead of the 2019-20 season, and up until that point, Green and Poole had minimal interactions. Poole was entering his rookie season after being drafted with the No. 28 overall pick and Green was gearing up to lead the new-look Warriors following Klay Thompson's torn ACL during the 2019 NBA Finals and Kevin Durant's departure to the Brooklyn Nets.
Sure, Green had been a leader before last season, but this would be a different season. So Green implemented his trash-talking tactic, trying to see which guys matched his demeanor. Poole stood out immediately.
"I'm a fiery guy, and I like to play with a lot of fire and a chip on my shoulder, and so does Draymond," Poole told myself and Grant Liffman on the latest episode of the "Dubs Talk" podcast. "Draymond is jawing in practice, and in the game when I get going, it’s the same thing. I said something back to him.
"At the end of practice when we came into the huddle and he was like, 'That’s the kind of fire you need to have. I respect you for that, and I'm glad you stood up and said something to me.’ Ever since that moment, me and Draymond have been extremely close."
In Green's eyes, figuring out how players will respond to these scenarios not only lets him know how to lead them, but it also gives him a look into how they will respond in real-life on-court scenarios.
"If you can’t take the trash talk in practice and I’m your teammate, good luck taking it in the game when, in a normal state, there are 20,000 people screaming, yelling, and you have a guy from another team who’s an All-Star," Green said.
If his interactions with Poole in practice have shown Green anything, it's that he won't be afraid to stand up to whomever on the court, just as Green continues to do.