Why Steph Curry, Draymond Green are ideal leaders for revamped Warriors

Why Steph Curry, Draymond Green are ideal leaders for revamped Warriors

Aside from a few moments of spontaneous flame throwing, Draymond Green is a man of tactics. He’s a planner, a thinker, and even when his tactics regarding basketball or the Warriors fail or backfire, it is not for lack of a thought process.

Stephen Curry is a man of reflection and perspective. He’s a moderator, aiming to do what feels fair and right in hopes of achieving, or maintaining, harmony. With an almost thermostatic sense of what’s needed, he can warm a home too cold or cool one too hot.

That’s why they, as a duo, are suited to cope with what the Warriors have faced and will continue to face during a season bound to be tricky in an entirely different way than the precarious issues that permeated last season.

That was about the looming departure of a superstar and uncertainty about the future.

This is about finding and sustaining a balance between brutal honesty (Draymond) and pragmatic assessment (Stephen).

They're built for the roles of “bad cop, good cop.” And don’t think they don’t know it and believe it’s best for the team.

When Draymond presses his “sharply critical” button, as he did after each of the first two games, it’s to make an announcement to his new teammates. They need to hear that a certain level of effort is expected, and they need to hear it loudly and clearly -- without room for interpretation. And it’s important they hear this such stark honesty from someone who is not a member of the coaching staff.

After the victory over the Pelicans on Monday night, Green took note of outside noise, but also pressed the “we were better tonight, but we’re not good” button.

“Just because we won one game doesn’t mean we don’t suck right now,” he told reporters in New Orleans. “We still have a lot of improvement to do.

“When I said we suck last night, I see a lot of former players who ain’t never led (expletive) blew it out of proportion. We sucked. And we’re still not very good.”

A fair critique, but the victory provided Green with his first opportunity to very slowly raise the bar. This was another message, only without shouting, that more is expected of everyone.

Curry, as expected, took an entirely different approach. Aware of the searing commentary directed at the team after two ugly losses -- including Green’s colorful assessments -- he was the calm counselor, verbally rubbing shoulders throughout the locker room.

"Everybody loves to label you when you're down or when you're losing," Curry said. "That's easy. It's easy to get on TV and say whatever you want. It's easy to just throw darts at a team that's trying to figure it out based on how much success we've had. I hope people can start to see through that and understand what we're about as a team and what we're going to build toward. That's basically it.

“If you want to get on and say whatever you want to say, and fill that 24-hour news cycle, that's cool with us. We're still going to hoop and just play basketball.”

Draymond, in this instance, gives everyone a spanking that leaves no real bruises -- unlike the last two -- followed by faint praise as a sweetener.

And Stephen comes along to treat any lingering soreness, reminding his team that it’s too soon to reach conclusions and, moreover, exploiting the outside noise as a motivating force.

This was, for both leaders, what folks refer to as a "team-building exercise.”

There is no knowing how good or bad these Warriors will be, though we expect them to win about 40 games, give or take a few, with the final number affected by the injuries that have occurred and keep coming.

Green and Curry, though, are the ideal leaders for an overhauled roster, with an emphasis on youth. For a team in the midst of transition, from certified elite to one susceptible to a dramatic tumble into mediocrity.

[RELATED: Outsider Observations: How Steph, Dray stepped up for Dubs]

The educated hunch here is that general manager Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr understand what’s going on with their leaders and this roster. They know Draymond is about promoting growth and Stephen is about making sure the room never gets too hot or too cold.

Steph Curry shares his thoughts on Allen Iverson's 'top five' comment

Steph Curry shares his thoughts on Allen Iverson's 'top five' comment

At NBA All-Star weekend last year, Allen Iverson told Steph Curry that he's in his "top five all day long."

Since then, Iverson repeatedly has said that the Warriors' superstar would be his point guard if he was assembling an all-time starting five.

"You know what's funny -- I have that saved on my phone," Curry told Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes on the latest episode of "All the Smoke" on Showtime (the full show will air this Thursday). "It's crazy. It's crazy, right?

"I ain't never had a big head. That dude who I picked up a lot of game and inspiration from -- he's now looking at my game ...

"Some OGs, they don't want to relinquish the praise. Same way we respect the OGs, we want it both ways. So when you do hear that, that means something."

As Steph said after Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals: "Low-key, I've always wanted to be like Allen Iverson."

It must be killing the three-time NBA champion to be sidelined with the broken left hand, especially on nights like Monday in Portland when he sat on the Warriors' bench while Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard dropped 61 points in an overtime win over the Dubs.

[RELATED: What names did Charles Barkley just call Steph and Klay?]

Now is the perfect time to remind everybody that the two-time NBA MVP averaged 36.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists against the Blazers in the 2019 Western Conference Finals, all while shooting 47 percent overall and nearly 43 percent from deep.

It's safe to assume that Iverson doesn't forget about that, and neither should you.

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Why comparing Warriors' Eric Paschall to Draymond Green should stop


Why comparing Warriors' Eric Paschall to Draymond Green should stop

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 offseason comparisons between Warriors rookie Eric Paschall and star forward Draymond Green made sense. Both were highly successful four-year college basketball players from big-time programs that were taken in the second round of the NBA draft due to concerns of their overall athleticism and their inability to fit in to a traditional position.

Both players supposedly were too undersized to play the power forward position in the NBA, but also not quick or polished enough to be small forwards. Even their physiques had similar builds. So with all of that, comparing the two players before the season began was logical.

But it is not anymore.

The most important caveat is that Green is a three-time All-Star, a Defensive Player of the Year, three-time NBA champion and at one point, was widely considered a top-20 player in the league. Conversely, Paschall is a rookie who has not had a chance to accomplish an NBA resume yet.

Comparing both players seems silly already, and it is unfair to Paschall for creating expectations for that type of success. And yet if the side-by-side comparison is simply regarding how they play, Paschall and Green are completely different in their skillsets and approach to the game. 

On the defensive end, Draymond is one of the best help-side defenders in the modern NBA. He plays a "free safety" type role, using his unique ability to read the opponent's every move while also having the quickness and strength to counter them. Despite being just 6-foot-6, Green is elite at guarding big men in the NBA, while also having the unique ability to defend every position on the court.

Paschall, on the other hand, still is learning to play defense at the NBA level, and even with that, has shown to be more of a one-on-one defender so far. While he is more accustomed to guarding the power forward position, he has had impressive defensive moments defending "straight up" against wings, sliding his feet and using his strength to force them into tough shots.

It will take time for Paschall to develop from a good defender into the great one that many think he is capable of becoming. Regardless, his current projection does not have him playing the same defensive style as Green.

On offense, the contrast between the two is even greater. Green became one of the most unique offensive threats in the game as a great playmaker in transition and out of the pick-and-roll. His ability to push the ball full speed in the fast break and expose slow opposing big men helped pave the way for the Warriors' "Death Lineup" that revolutionized small-ball.

At his peak, Green was a 39 percent 3-point shooter, but scored most of his points on the break attacking the hoop. His elite passing ability helped him rack up assists, where he could spread the ball around to the greatest shooters of all-time surrounding him. 

[RELATED: Why Dubs are in power position with Burks at trade deadline]

While Paschall has shown glimpses of impressive playmaking talent, his real bread and butter so far in the NBA has been dominating opponents one-on-one. He is remarkably explosive jumping off two feet, and he is able to combine his great strength with unique finesse when finishing over defenders at the rim. His shooting is very inconsistent from deep, just like Draymond, but he still is refining a mid-range pull-up that keeps defenders honest.

For being only a few months into this NBA career, Paschall already has become a "throw the ball to him and clear out of the way" type talent on offense. While Paschall might never be the type of offensive quarterback like Green, he already is on his way to becoming a more dynamic scoring threat.

Draymond will continue to take Paschall under his wing and teach him the nuances of the game. But when all is said and done, the two Warriors will complement each other very nicely on the court with their own personal skills and differentiated abilities, rather than repetitive and possibly gratuitous similarities.