Let’s get this out of the way first. Any team that strolls into the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors and doesn’t expect Draymond Green to pull Draymond Green antics isn’t prepared for the task at hand.
There’s a lot of fake outrage around the multiple incidents involving Green in the Warriors’ game two victory over Boston. It seemed like Green got into it either physically or verbally with just about every member of the Celtics’ roster. Nobody should be upset over Green pushing the envelope at this point in his career.
If this series is the first NBA basketball you’ve watched in 10 years, you get a pass. Since most of us fall way outside that category, I don’t understand the issue. This is what Green has always been. He’s an irritant of the highest order. Draymond is the Dennis Rodman of this era. Minus the cool multicolored hair.
Green is the heart and soul of this Warriors team and has been from day one of this dynasty. When ranking players by importance to winning a championship, Green is either 1a or 1b for Golden State. It’s Draymond and Stephen Curry, obviously.
What Curry brings to the table in presence alone can’t be matched. The same thing can be said for Green in what it represents at both ends of the floor. Draymond is the Warriors’ general on the floor. And he does it without averaging double-digit points. Green is Mr. Triple single.
The closest thing we have to an enforcer in the NBA is Draymond. Every contending team had an enforcer back in the day. And from what we always hear, everyone loved the 1980s and 90s NBA so much and they all claim today’s league is soft. But anytime there’s a confrontation in today’s NBA, everyone gets bent out of shape with this false outrage. We can’t keep calling players soft and then get mad because someone gets shoved during a game.
Employing at least one rough and rugged player for intimidation was commonplace 25 years ago. In the 90s, the New York Knicks had Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason. The Indiana Pacers had the Davis brothers, Antonio and Dale. During the Pistons’ title runs of the late 80s, they had Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn. Later, Detroit had Ben and Rasheed Wallace on its 2004 championship team.
Draymond only does what the Warriors pay him to do. Green’s performance in Game 2 was literally the job he is employed to carry out. He got to the Celtics early and often. Green pushed it right up to the brink with his personal foul on Jaylen Brown, which nearly resulted in his second technical foul. This would have meant his ejection from the game. Luckily for Golden State, it didn’t come to that, but Green is more than willing to walk that line. Green may sometimes dance on that line, but he’s become the best at it.
Take the exchange from the 2016 NBA Finals between Green and LeBron James. Draymond calling LeBron a bitch is typical trash talk to some. Go ask someone from Green’s hometown of Saginaw, MI. They’ll tell you that the level of aggression and passion that Green plays with isn’t foreign to them. It’s the norm.
The Celtics were able to take it on the chin in game one, then battled back in the fourth quarter. But Green and the Warriors turned things up a notch during game two, putting the game out of reach. Boston was clearly out of their game midway through the third quarter as the Warriors sprinted ahead with one of their usual demoralizing runs.
Now the Celtics need to shift their mindset moving forward. They can’t expect the referees to bail them out in that situation. Sure, Green had one tech already, and maybe he should’ve been hit with the second at some point in game two. But this was a regular Draymond Green game. He’s not acting out of character or ramping it up for the Finals. Draymond’s just going about business as usual.