The full Draymond Green Experience assures moments of conflict just as it does defensive brilliance essential to the success of the Warriors. Tempers flare, daps are exchanged. Arguments ensue, brotherhood is reaffirmed.
Klay Thompson once invented the perfect word in describing some of the internal tension in a locker room that includes Draymond: “Bickerments.”
Jordan Poole on Wednesday night waded into his first public encounter with the Draymond Experience. There was a “bickerment” on the bench. Draymond’s demonstrative reaction was caught on video by countless cameras, some of which belonged to fans sitting nearby.
This was, for JP, another in a series of baptisms in becoming a card-carrying Warrior. If he didn’t know of this particular requirement, he does now.
“They hashed it out afterward,” coach Steve Kerr said on Thursday. “They’re good.
“One of the things we love about Draymond is his energy and passion. We all know sometimes it bubbles over. The great thing with Dray is he’s always about the team. He’s always circling back. His loyalty and his passion always land in the right spot. Over 82 games, stuff like that is going to happen. It’s behind us.”
That Draymond-JP spat is the latest in a series of “bickerments” that trace back to the intensity in many ways defines Draymond.
Some, like his dispute with Kevin Durant in November 2018, occur in public. Some, like the spasm of anger in February 2016 that prompted Draymond to bark at Kerr during halftime of a game in Oklahoma City, can be heard but not seen by outsiders.
Nick Young during his one-year stay (2017-18) often was, according to multiple sources, the subject of relentless and very sharp needling from Draymond.
The same Draymond who lobbied Warriors management to give Young a chance to win a ring.
Part of getting to know the Warriors is hearing tales of Draymond’s fits of temper.
For Draymond, a proud product of Michigan State, it’s part of the march to victory. When Spartans forward Gabe Brown missed a defensive rotation in a game last season, coach Tom Izzo lit into the forward, who snapped back. The exchange was caught on camera and became a topic of debate.
Draymond’s response, via twitter: “Typical Michigan State exchange ... move on. RELAX!”
Most forward-thinking companies understand the power and influence and growth that can come from properly channeled conflict. Find a great basketball team, you’ll probably find a leader willing to blister teammates failing to meet the standard. Remember Kobe Bryant? Or Michael Jordan? Or Magic Johnson had frightening fangs behind his grin, and Larry Bird was famous for belittling teammates and opponents.
Draymond does not have the global icon status of the aforementioned, but he is an essential spice to the recipe that makes the Warriors cook. The blustery yin to Stephen Curry’s understated yang.
Poole is smart enough and has been around long enough to sense the underpinnings of the Warriors and feel what’s behind their success. Sure, it’s talent. But it’s also the dynamic tension within the team’s chemistry.
“We’re giving Jordan a lot of rope,” Kerr said. “We want him to be aggressive. We need him to get to the rim. We need him to attack. That means he’s going to make some mistakes, because he’s just in his third year.
“But we have the internal leadership to rein him in. So, it’s not always me or one of the coaches who has to watch film with him and say, ‘Hey, this what you could have done,’ Or, ‘That is what you could have done.’ It’s our veteran players. It’s Andre (Iguodala), Draymond, Steph. They do it together to help Jordan. There’s some tough love and there’s some lighter stuff, and everything in between.”
Which brings us back to Thompson, who know of being on the business end of Draymond’s growl.
“Guys get into small ‘bickerments,’” Thompson said more than three years ago.
“We rub shoulders a lot. We spent way too much time together. So, it’s going to be like a brother you love. You’re going to fight a couple times, but it’s stuff that’s pretty normal for any team trying to go through this.”
When, exactly, did Thompson make that statement? On the same day the Warriors celebrated their 2018 NBA Finals victory with a parade through the streets of Oakland.