Warriors

Why Draymond still views Warriors' season as title or bust

Warriors

Draymond Green's lofty expectations haven't changed.

Even without Klay Thompson and with a practically brand-new supporting cast, Green won't view his season as a success unless the Warriors lift the Larry O'Brien Trophy at the end of it.

"When I don't win a title, it was unsuccessful," Green said Monday in a video conference with reporters, following his first practice with the team in training camp. "There's no moral victories. There's no, 'Oh, this is our first year together!' Or, 'We don't have as many stars,' or 'Klay is [out.]' I don't really roll like that.

"You step on the floor, [it's] the same 94 feet, two baskets and one basketball that everybody else got. We're all NBA players, so [we] go out there, compete, try to win [and] try to compete at the highest level as you can personally compete to help this team win. That's what it's all about for me."

Thompson's season-ending torn Achilles last month dampened enthusiasm for the Warriors' return to title contention, but it didn't diminish Green's. His confidence comes as no surprise, considering its role in the 30-year-old's rise from an overlooked second-round pick to a Defensive Player of the Year award winner, three-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA champion.

If the Warriors are going to be as good as Green believes they can be, they'll need his confidence to manifest in on-court success. Green shot worse from the field (38.9 percent) and from behind the 3-point line (27.9 percent) last season than all but one in his career, and he averaged his fewest assists (6.2) and rebounds (6.2) per game since 2014-15. The Warriors aspire to be an elite defensive team, and they can't get there without Green playing his best.

 
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A noticeably leaner Green told reporters he felt "great physically," and he's feeling "rejuvenated" and "motivated" to compete this season. Green's one of the NBA's most animated players on game nights, and he said he doesn't expect playing in empty arenas -- a consequence of the ongoing, worsening coronavirus pandemic -- will affect his energy.

With his own sky-high expectations, Green doesn't need much else to motivate him.

"There won't be any fans, which sucks, but there will be a guy from another team standing in front of me," Green said, wryly. "I think that'll be just enough to keep me going."

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