Why Draymond Green contract extension is right move for him, Warriors

Why Draymond Green contract extension is right move for him, Warriors

The clock is ticking. The Warriors, as a franchise, know it. Draymond Green, as their power forward/point forward/center, knows it.

It was accepted a couple years ago that it was unreasonable to expect Draymond to sustain his relentless full-throttle, court-scorching intensity over a long career. At some point, maybe in his early 30s, the juice would dry up and battery would begin to resist recharging.

But Green’s stellar performances in the postseason reminded everyone that he still has it when his teammates really need it.

The Warriors recognized this and concluded that Green has been too important to next season as a lame duck. He deserved better. He has earned so much more.

To be determined was whether Draymond was willing to extend his contract beyond 2020, even at the expense of upwards of $100 million.

That question was answered Saturday, when Green and the Warriors agreed on an extension worth roughly $100 million over four seasons, beginning in 2020-2021.

Why would Green, who could have doubled that total with a five-year max next summer, offer himself at such a discount? Because he knows the clock is ticking. His body reminds him after every game, and it clobbers him with that reality after every season.

“When I finish the playoffs every year, I’m exhausted — and more so mentally than physically, because I view these games like life or death,” Green said during the Western Conference finals in May.

Green, 29, already has taken steps during the 82-game regular season to preserve himself for the postseason. He picks his spots to save energy in January in hopes of having it in April, May and June. It’s a ploy other vets utilize, but is that rare player that wears multiple hats at both ends of the court.

But who else is asked to fill roles of chief playmaker and primary paint protector? Particularly when, at a generously listed 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, his physique is not ideally suited for either?

That Draymond is so terrific at multitasking explains his rise from second-round draft pick to NBA All-Star and, moreover, a pillar of a team that has made five consecutive trips to The Finals, coming away with three championships.

If there is anything Warriors CEO Joe Lacob wants the world to know, it is that he is willing to put money into the product. Being associated with cheapness is the fastest route to NBA mediocrity, or worse, so he grabs a bullhorn to shout his message that this is one franchise committed to maintaining its reputation as a first-class operation.

Understand, the Warriors are spending now to potentially save later. That’s called investing.

Though the Warriors see next season as one in which development is more crucial than contending — though the playoffs remain a priority — they firmly believe they’ll be back among the elite in 2020-2021.

They’re not ready to believe they rejoin the elite without having Draymond alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney, maybe D’Angelo Russell and whomever else becomes an integral part of the rotation.

The Warriors also know their best chances at winning championships require everything they can get from Green. The defense, the passing, the rebounding, the massive emotional spark only he could provide.

[RELATED: Draymond has chance to prove Dubs can win without KD]

There is no knowing how many more seasons Green will be able to put his signature on games, particularly in the postseason. The Warriors don’t know and neither does Draymond.

Both know he can do it now, which makes this extension a smart move by both parties.

Why Gary Payton believes Warriors' Steph Curry isn't true point guard


Why Gary Payton believes Warriors' Steph Curry isn't true point guard

You might think of Steph Curry as a point guard.

After all, he's short, brings the ball up the court sometimes and appears on the far left of those nifty starting lineup graphics prior to tip-off with PG next to his name.

But in this age of run-and-gun positionless basketball, is Curry really a point guard? Not if you ask Gary Payton.

In fact, the nine-time NBA All-Star believes there only are two true point guards left in The Association.

"That's a question that is kind of difficult for old people," Payton told NBC Sports Bay Area's Logan Murdock and Kerith Burke on the "Runnin' Plays Podcast" when asked about the best point guards in today's game. "You look at Stephen Curry. You put him as a point guard. He's not a point guard. He's a two-guard. You look at [Russell] Westbrook. He's not a point guard. He's a two-guard. You look at James Harden. He's not a point guard, he's a two-guard.

"To me, there are only two guards in this league that are true point guards. That's [Rajon] Rondo and Chris Paul. 

"Now, Chris Paul has turned into a shooting guard more, but Rondo is a true point guard," Payton continued. "He looks first to get people off. He does his defense and he makes people better around him. Not, let me score 30. Not, let me shoot a jump shot first. He's not doing that ... If we name a lot of point guards that's right now in this NBA, they are not point guards."

At least Harden can finally be in the same category as Steph, right?

[RELATED: Loss to Knicks shows Warriors have earned NBA's worst record]

While Steph might not be the prototypical point guard in the old-fashioned sense, there's no doubt he'll one day be enshrined in Springfield, Mass., as one of the greatest scoring guards in NBA history.

In any era, that's pretty, pretty good.

What Warriors' long-term forecast is for Alec Burks, young centers


What Warriors' long-term forecast is for Alec Burks, young centers

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

The Warriors' ugly season hit its lowest point yet with the loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

The team owns the worst record in the NBA, and despite getting healthier and returning some key veterans, they seem to be regressing and stalling in their development. This has been nothing short of a nightmare season for the franchise, but with a very bright light at the end of the tunnel with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson rehabbing for next season, the panic and fears of the fanbase have been rather subdued.

Trades and draft picks have been the focus for most discussions surrounding the team, distracting many from the immensely unsuccessful season. At the moment, all eyes look toward the future for the Warriors, so here are notes checking in on some players and their long term forecast.

In his career, Alec Burks owns a 42.3 percent overall mark from the field. This season, inconsistency has plagued Burks as he has had games in which he has played very well, followed by a highly inefficient night.

Some examples of these nights include a three for 17 performance against the Thunder, three for 11 at Dallas and two for 13 at New Orleans. It has been widely speculated that the Warriors will attempt to trade Burks at some point this season, in order to potentially receive a modest return from a contending team in need of a prolific bench scorer.

But to actually receive something back of note, Burks would have to step up and become more consistent, which he has done.

Over the last four games, Burks is 22 for 40 from the field, raising his season shooting percentage from 39.8 percent to 42 percent. His shot selection has improved as he has started to limit the amount of reckless, overly aggressive drives to the hoop. If he can continue this trend of efficient scoring nights, his value to the Warriors and potentially to other teams, will skyrocket.

Willie Cauley-Stein recorded his third game this season, of 23 games played, in which he blocked three shots. Last season, Cauley-Stein accumulated only five such games of 81 games played. It has been a rough season so far for the big man, as he missed all of training camp and the beginning of the season due to injury, and has had to learn a new system and how to play with a new team while trying to shake off the rust and regain his conditioning. Recently there have been signs of him shaping into form, which has been an encouraging sight for the coaching staff.

However, every game there are moments where Cauley-Stein seems to float around defensively and seem a bit lost. On the bright side though, his rim protection has been better than advertised so far. In his four seasons with the Kings, Cauley-Stein owned a rate of 1.2 blocks per 36 minutes played. This season, he has almost doubled that number, averaging 2.1 per 36.

The Warriors are hoping to see the seven-footer continue to find his groove, as Cauley-Stein has a player option for next season and may possibly stick around (barring a trade). 

Speaking of centers, Marquese Chriss and Omari Spellman have continued to impress. Chriss was one of the lone bright spots from the loss to the New York Knicks, collecting six offensive rebounds and blocking three shots in just 24 minutes of action. His overall play from the center spot has improved tremendously as the season has gone along, and it is almost a foregone conclusion at this point that his contract is guaranteed for the rest of the season when the time comes.

This is Chriss's fourth season in the NBA, and yet he only turned 22 years of age in July. Spellman meanwhile also turned 22 in July and has become a valuable rotation piece as his conditioning has improved.

[RELATED: D-Lo explains worst part of Warriors current situation]

The big man is shooting just under 37 percent from deep, and collecting about 11 rebounds per 36 minutes of action. He already had his option picked up for next season, so the Warriors see the value in his development.

Looking ahead, the team may have a plethora of very young centers with immense potential moving forward when you add 23-year-old Kevon Looney and 19-year-old Alen Smailagic to the mix to go along with Chriss and Spellman.