The Warriors boast the NBA’s best 3-point shooter in league history in Steph Curry, a perennial All-Star in Klay Thompson and a budding scoring threat in Jordan Poole.
But Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic didn’t name any of those three players when labeling the key piece to the Warriors’ winning formula.
Enter Draymond Green.
“I have so much respect for Draymond, man,” he told reporters Tuesday. “Obviously, Klay and Steph [are] incredible offensive guys. The key to the Warriors team is Draymond. He is just unbelievable. I really respect him – everything he does. Obviously, no disrespect, but he’s not the best offensive guy. But he impacts the game in every other category. So, I really have a lot of respect for the guy.”
Green only played in one of the Warriors’ four meetings with Dallas this season. He tallied just two points on 1-of-4 shooting in Golden State’s 99-82 loss to Dallas on Jan. 5, also chipping in three rebounds, four assists and two steals in 32 minutes.
Nevertheless, the four-time All-Star has the respect and attention of one of the league's most exciting young players.
Although both teams are exchanging niceties ahead of Wednesday's Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, don't expect that to last long.
Both Doncic and Green are known to play with spirited passion on the court. Doncic is coming off an emotional series win over the Phoenix Suns in which he got into a heated back-and-forth with star guard Devin Booker on several occasions.
Can we expect the same treatment from Doncic to Green, who he dubbed the Warriors' key piece?
“You never hear me trash talk in the media," Doncic said. "But obviously, we’re going to have some words. That’s the fun about the game. I love that part."
Get your popcorn ready for Wednesday night. NBC Sports Bay Area has you covered with a preview of Game 1 on "Warriors Live: Playoff Edition" beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday.