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.
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.