It was not a fun 2019-20 season for Warriors forward Draymond Green.
The three-time NBA champion shot below 39 percent from the field and less than 28 percent from 3-point territory. He missed 22 games with various ailments, yet he picked up a league-high 14 technical fouls.
But here's the truth: Once Steph Curry broke his hand against the Phoenix Suns on Oct. 30, everything changed for Green and the Warriors. It immediately became apparent that the team wasn't going to the playoffs, and attention shifted to D'Angelo Russell's future with the franchise and the 2020 NBA Draft.
While some might disagree, yours truly is giving the 2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year a pass. He was an indispensable part of the Warriors reaching the NBA Finals for five consecutive years and winning three titles.
The guy suited up for 104 of Golden State's 105 playoff games over that stretch (he was suspended for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals), averaging 37.7 minutes per night.
Plenty of people out there believe Green's best basketball is behind him. Some believe he's "washed up," which is beyond ridiculous.
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Let's remind you that during last year's playoffs -- you know, when the games really matter -- the two-time All-NBA selection averaged 13.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per game, while shooting just under 50 percent overall and playing phenomenal defense.
This sequence from Draymond Green is just simply spectacular pic.twitter.com/nX4fyx1S5F— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) May 1, 2019
This Draymond Green sequence is just unbelievable. Wow pic.twitter.com/Sb8PPqWsIR— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) May 21, 2019
Draymond Green gets no credit in the box score for this, but he saved the Warriors two points in a crucial moment pic.twitter.com/aN14kbHLeC— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) May 17, 2019
If you don’t think Draymond Green is extremely important to the Warriors’ offense, you are misinformed (he has 4 assists already) pic.twitter.com/hp2Ie7Tr3g— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) May 19, 2019
As Draymond told Marcus Thompson of The Athletic during the Warriors' second-round NBA playoff matchup with the Houston Rockets:
“How (Eminem) say it? Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say. But nothing comes out when they move their lips. Just a bunch of gibberish. And motherf--kers act like they forgot about Dray.
“If somebody think I’m washed and done at 29, they’re stupid. So good for them for being an idiot. But it’s OK. It’s the time of year where I like to show what it’s really about.”
And during a recent conversation with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on Showtime's "All the Smoke" podcast, Draymond issued a message to his doubters:
"To everybody out there who want to talk s--t about this year -- I don't really give a f--k," he said. "In my opinion, I got better. I got better as a player, I got better as a person and a leader ... and that's gonna make me even better for next year.
"So, I appreciate everybody talking. I kind of needed them to relight that fire under my a--."
Speaking of next season, that's when the four-year, $99.7 million contract extension he signed last summer kicks in. Draymond knows the vultures will be out in full force if he doesn't back up these strong statements. He's putting the pressure on himself to deliver, and that's awesome.
So, what in particular does the 30-year-old want to accomplish?
"I think one year I shot like 38 or 39 percent from 3," Draymond said. "So, my personal challenge to myself is to get that back. I've kind of had to restructure my jump shot, kind of restructure my whole body. After we swept the Cavs in the (2018) Finals, my hip was bothering me. The next day, I couldn't really walk.
"I ended up getting my hips checked out and stuff, and there were some issues. I had to recorrect -- strengthen my core, which is something I never even really knew. In doing all of that, it kind of changed my shot because it changed the way I lift up.
"If I can get that back to above 36 percent -- possibly shoot 40 percent, which I know I'm more than capable of -- the league is in trouble again if I can do that. That's my goal."
During the 2015-16 season, when Draymond was named All-NBA Second Team and finished seventh in the MVP voting, he shot 38.8 percent from deep.
"And to be an All-Star again," he said. "It's honestly been dope as hell these last two All-Stars to go on vacation with my kids and my fiancée. But I got that itch again. I got to three straight, and I'm like, 'Yeah, all right. I knew I could do it.'
"I kind of lost that itch. ... I got that itch again. I want to get back there."
If Draymond delivers on these goals, the Warriors probably will be in title contention again.
Obviously, we need to see what happens with the coronvavirus pandemic and find out what the Warriors do with the roster during the offseason before we can fully grasp their place in the NBA's hierarchy.
Draymond -- your thoughts please:
Draymond: “Getting this team back to greatness. A lot of people saying we can’t win without KD — like we didn’t win without KD already. Is it gonna be as easy? Fu*k no. Kevin’s great. But with them two guys I’ve been rolling with ... it can get done. And we gonna get it done.” pic.twitter.com/WS8emcc1py— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) April 23, 2020
We'll leave you with a couple more comments from Draymond:
Draymond Green on All the Smoke: “I think I changed the game of basketball with the help of Steph Curry. I think Steph Curry changed the game of basketball with the help of me. I think it was a match made in heaven. And then Klay Thompson ... us three changed the game forever.” pic.twitter.com/viHMVTTe42— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) April 23, 2020
"I think so many people get pissed off that I am who I am -- and I've had the success that I've had -- but I don't do what they can see -- which is a scorer. So many people think they know basketball and don't know s--t ... talking basketball and x's and o's, I'll f--king run circles around most people in this world.
"Yeah, Steph Curry do make me better. Yeah, Klay Thompson do make me better. And? I make them better. By the way, people talk all this s--t about shooting. I'll put this up against anybody -- if not No. 1, I'm definitely top-two or three -- I think I'm the best screen-setter to ever play in the NBA. And that's just real.
"I'm a great defender, but I don't think there's anybody to ever f--king touch the NBA that can set better screens than me. I take pride in that. But there's a lot of dumbf--ks that don't even realize that."
I'm sold. Say no more.
If you're looking to get rid of your Draymond Green stock, I'll buy it all from you.
Please, and thank you.