Draymond Green

Western Notes: Curry, Green, C. Johnson, Jazz, J. Hall

Warriors veterans Stephen Curry and Draymond Green didn’t make the trip to Phoenix for Thursday’s game and won’t be available, reports Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). It’s a rest day for Curry, who will be participating in the All-Star Game this weekend. As for Green, he’ll get an extra day of rest for his sore ankle before Golden State gets a week off for the All-Star break.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Second-year sharpshooter Cameron Johnson also won’t play in Thursday’s Suns/Warriors contest, as he’s been placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. If Johnson is subject to contact tracing, he could be good to go following the All-Star break, but if he has tested positive for COVID-19, he won’t be available for the start of the second half either.
  • After waiving Shaquille Harrison last week, the Jazz are still about $1.2MM above the luxury tax line, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who suggests Utah could still get out of tax territory by paying a team to take on Juwan Morgan‘s contract before the trade deadline, then filling its open roster spots off-and-on with 10-day contracts for the rest of the season. Of course, a bigger trade that reduces team salary would also work.
  • The Thunder recalled rookie two-way player Josh Hall from the G League bubble on Wednesday, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Hall, who played in just one game for the OKC Blue at Walt Disney World, was listed on Wednesday’s injury report as out due to left knee soreness.

Pacific Notes: LeBron, Kerr, Green, Payne

Lakers superstar LeBron James acknowledged he must adjust due to the absence of Anthony Davis, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. James finished with 19 points (and four free-throw attempts) in the team’s loss to Miami on Saturday, mostly playing facilitator as the Heat double-teamed him throughout the game.

“I think that’s what it all boils down to, and right now is another challenge for me, to be able to adjust,” James said. “Not having AD for a long period of time is something that we haven’t had over the last year and a half, and now it’s time for me to adjust again and see ways I can be even more effective to help this team win ballgames. Because that is the sport that we’re in.

“We’re in the winning business, and I’ve always been a winner. So, it’s time to click into that.”

Davis is expected to miss at least another week or two with a calf strain, while starting point guard Dennis Schroder is out due to the league’s health and safety protocols. The Lakers have lost two straight games and currently own a 22-9 record — tied with the Clippers.

Here are some other notes from the Pacific Division tonight:

  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr believes Draymond Green let his emotion get the best of him in the final seconds of Saturday’s game, Nick Friedell of ESPN.com writes. Green was ejected in the 102-100 loss to the Hornets, picking up two technical fouls in the heat of the moment and giving Charlotte the two free throws that tied the game. “He crossed the line,” Kerr explained. “That’s the main thing. We love his passion and his energy. We would not be the team we are without him, but that doesn’t give him license to cross that line, and he knows that.”
  • While still too early to seriously discuss, the outspoken Green is seen as a strong candidate to become a broadcaster once his playing career ends, Richard Deitsch of The Athletic writes. In addition to frequently speaking his mind, the Warriors forward has a high basketball IQ and is a three-time NBA champion.
  • Suns guard Cameron Payne had a tough road back to the NBA, Brian Snyder and Greg Moore examine for the Arizona Republic. Payne has once again served as a valuable asset for Phoenix this season, averaging 7.3 points, 3.8 assists and 17.7 minutes per game. He’s also shot 49.5% from the field and 45.7% from deep.

Draymond Green Blasts Double Standard In Treatment Of Players

The Cavaliersdecision to sit out Andre Drummond until they can find somewhere to trade him sparked a post-game speech from Warriors forward Draymond Green Monday night, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. After Golden State defeated Cleveland, Green charged that a double standard exists in the league involving players who request a trade and teams that stop using players until they can be dealt.

“Because when James Harden asked for a trade, and essentially dogged it – no one’s going to fight back that James was dogging it his last days in Houston – but he was castrated for wanting to go to a different team,” Green said. “Everybody destroyed that man. And yet a team can come out and say, ‘Oh, we want to trade a guy,’ and then that guy has to go sit, and if he doesn’t stay professional, then he’s a cancer. And he’s not good in someone’s locker room, and he’s the issue.”

Drummond, who was in street clothes on the Cavaliers’ bench, talked to Green briefly before the game, although Green didn’t reveal the nature of their conversation. Another veteran in the same situation is Pistons’ forward Blake Griffin, who also won’t play again until his team finds a trade partner.

Green was fined $50K last season for saying on Turner Sports that he believed Suns guard Devin Booker should ask to be traded.

“And we’re seeing situations of Harrison Barnes getting pulled off the bench,” Green told reporters. “Or DeMarcus Cousins finding out he’s traded in an interview after the All-Star Game, and we continue to let this happen. But I got fined for stating my opinion on what I thought should happen with another player, but teams can come out and continue to say, ‘Oh, we’re trading guys, we’re not playing you.’ And yet we’re to stay professional.”

Green emphasized that players deserve to be treated with the same respect as team officials and called on the league to start protecting players from the “embarrassment” that can arise. He noted that players who are benched while they wait for a deal are expected to stay in shape and not complain publicly about their circumstances.

“As players, we’re told to, ‘Ah, no, you can’t say that, you can’t say this,'” Green said. “But teams can? It goes along the same lines of when everyone wants to say, ‘Ah, man, that young guy can’t figure it out.’ But no one wants to say the organization can’t figure it out. At some point, the players must be respected in these situations, and it’s ridiculous, and I’m sick of seeing it.”

Atlantic Notes: Green, Nets, Milton, Boucher, Raptors

Warriors forward Draymond Green said he believes the Nets are “the team to beat” in the East after losing a 134-117 game to Brooklyn on Saturday night, as relayed by Peter Botte of The New York Post.

Green tallied six points, seven rebounds, and eight assists in the contest, playing against former teammate Kevin Durant for the first time since Durant left Golden State in the summer of 2019.

“They’ll be really dangerous in the East. I think there are some other good teams in the East that pose a threat to them, but they’re the team to beat in the East, if you ask me,” Green said. “It’s my opinion. That doesn’t mean anything, but that’s my opinion, they’re definitely the team to beat in the East.”

As it stands, the Nets hold the third-best record in the East at 16-12, trailing only Milwaukee (16-10) and Philadelphia (18-9) in the conference standings.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • Sixers guard Shake Milton will miss Monday’s game against the Jazz due to an ankle injury suffered last week, head coach Doc Rivers said, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Rivers didn’t offer a specific return timetable for Milton, who has already missed the last two games.
  • Raptors big man Chris Boucher has been the team’s most improbable success story, Michael Grange of Sportsnet writes. Boucher has proven to be effective on both ends of the floor this season, averaging 13.8 points and 6.9 rebounds in 23.3 minutes per game.
  • The Raptors are striving to maximize their practice time as the season progresses, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes. Naturally, Toronto is also concerned with maintaining a balance and ensuring its players don’t get injured by increasing the workload too much, as guard Fred VanVleet explained. “It’s a fine line, because we have a very inexperienced team in some regards,” VanVleet said. “We’re not the sharpest team at times this year, so it feels like we need those reps. But at the same time it’s been a grind and we need to manage the schedule, manage guys’ bodies.”

Pacific Notes: Green, Durant, J. Smith, LeBron

Draymond Green and Kevin Durant will face off tonight for the first time since their confrontation two years ago that some believe led to Durant leaving the Warriors, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports. The dispute resulted from a situation late in a tie game when Green grabbed a defensive rebound, dribbled the ball upcourt and committed a turnover rather than giving it to Durant. Green, who received a one-game suspension from the team for the incident, reportedly challenged Durant about his impending free agency during the spat.

Poole doesn’t expect the two players to be matched up directly very often tonight, as Green typically guards the interior with three centers sidelined, while Durant is usually on the perimeter. However, Green, who missed the December 22 game with the Nets, may look at the matchup as a chance to make a statement.

“The one thing we all know about Draymond is there’s not a better competitor, not a player who looks forward to competition more, than Draymond,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “So, I know he’s looking forward to (Saturday).”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • ESPN’s Nick Friedell believes Durant may consider a return to the Warriors before his career is over, relays Grant Liffman of NBC Sports. Appearing on the DubsTalk podcast, Friedell suggested that Durant’s time away from the team has healed some old wounds and that “he’s going to do what he feels most comfortable with in that moment” when it comes time for his next career decision. Durant is under contract through the end of next season and has a $43,928,850 player option for 2022/23.
  • Jalen Smith hasn’t seen much playing time in his first NBA season, but the Suns are content to bring him along slowly, according to Kevin Zimmerman of Arizona Sports 98.7. Smith, who was sidelined by COVID-19 in parts of December and January, has appeared in just seven games, averaging. 6.9 minutes per night. “He’s a diligent worker,” coach Monty Williams said. “I don’t think any young player understands how hard you have to work to be a good player in this league. He embraced that part, which we’re really pleased with. He doesn’t miss days to get work in.”
  • The LakersLeBron James and Kyle Kuzma both received warnings for flopping in Friday’s game against the Grizzlies, the NBA announced on its website.

Warriors Notes: Oubre, Green, Wiseman, Thompson

The Warriors‘ faith in Kelly Oubre throughout his early-season struggles paid off in a big way Thursday night, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Oubre posted a career-high 40 points in a win at Dallas after shooting just 37.6% from the field coming into the game.

“Obviously for Kelly, it’s been a rough first quarter of the season,” coach Steve Kerr said. “And yet within that span, he’s had some excellent games for us. He’s played very well at times; he’s just had some really poor shooting nights during that span that people have locked in on, but Kelly’s getting more comfortable. Guys in the locker room love him and want to help him continue to get comfortable, and this was obviously a great night for him and for the whole group.”

Golden State traded for Oubre to provide another reliable wing scoring option with Klay Thompson lost for the season due to a torn Achilles. Oubre averaged a career-best 18.7 PPG last season with the Suns, but his shot hasn’t been falling consistently since the deal. He had made just 24 3-pointers all season before sinking seven last night.

“It’s honestly been a great learning experience for me,” Oubre said. “I take it back to me being a freshman in college again because it was more of a psychological change. I had the tools to take it to the next step, but mentally I had to slow myself and wrap everything (together) and find my flow.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Thursday’s game also showed what Draymond Green is capable of doing in a small-ball lineup, Friedell adds in the same story. With centers James Wiseman, Kevon Looney and Marquese Chriss all sidelined by injuries, Green dished out 15 assists while playing a point-center role. “Draymond’s one of the best defenders in the game, and also one of the best playmakers,” said teammate Damion Lee. “He’s always looking to find guys, to get guys shots.”
  • Stephen Curry believes watching the offense last night should be an educational experience for Wiseman, who is expected to return in a week or so, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic“It’ll be good, I’m sure, for Wise to see how that ball was moving (tonight and this week) and that he can play that way as well and still dominate the game the way he’s capable of with his size and presence at the rim,” Curry said.
  • Even though Thompson hasn’t played since the 2019 NBA Finals, he ranks 10th in the Western Conference backcourt in the first round of All-Star voting, notes Alex Shultz of SFGate.

Warriors Notes: Thompson, Green, Poole, Schedule

Warriors guard Klay Thompson provided an update on his recovery from a torn Achilles as he joined the broadcast team for Golden State’s game Saturday night, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Thompson admitted that it “kills” him to have to miss a second straight season because of an injury.

“I’m living good,” he said. “To be back in the building that I’m so eagerly awaiting to play in. Just a little bored at times. Stuff’s slow with trying to let my Achilles heal and get to the next stage, which is mobility work, but I’m feeling good. I’m happy to be with my teammates, obviously. Unfortunately, I’m not playing. It kills me every day, but I plan on playing for a long time, and I don’t want to have any mishaps come this rehab.”

The interview marked Thompson’s first public comments since he suffered the injury during a workout in November. He has stayed around the team since his surgery, appearing frequently at home games to cheer on his teammates.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Draymond Green believes he needs more time to get his game back to where it should be, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Green, who missed the start of the season with a muscle strain in his foot, admits he’s not playing the way he is accustomed to. “I think I’m like two, three weeks away,” he said. “Continue to get in better shape. My speed is kind of getting there. I dunked the ball today. That was big time. I was really excited about that. That might’ve been my first dunk of the year. I’m not sure though. No. I got a dunk a couple games ago on two feet. That was my first one-foot dunk of the year.”
  • Jordan Poole turned in possibly the best game of his career the night before leaving for the G League bubble, Slater adds in the same story. Poole, who has been alternating playing time with Mychal Mulder as a reserve guard, scored 16 points in 21 minutes. He has appeared in 15 of the Warriors’ 20 games this season, but averages just 9.5 minutes, and the team decided to send him to the G League to get more playing time. “The G League isn’t looked at as having a negative impact,” Poole said. “I wasn’t getting minutes, I wasn’t playing, I wasn’t able to get on the floor and in the G League, I will be able to play 30-plus minutes.”
  • Golden State’s January 15 game at Phoenix, which was postponed because the Suns didn’t have enough available players, has been rescheduled for March 4, according to the Warriors’ website.

Warriors Notes: Starting Five, Wolves’ Pick, Mannion

The Warriors suffered their second consecutive loss on Saturday in Utah, dropping to .500 (8-8) on the season. In the wake of that blowout, head coach Steve Kerr left the door open to the possibility of making changes to his struggling starting lineup, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

“It’s going to take us 20 games to figure out where we really want to be with our rotation,” Kerr said. “We’re at 16 now, and I think getting a pretty good look at everything. We just had two bad losses in a row, so we have to assess everything. No doubt.”

Kerr has suggested that Golden State’s starting five – Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre, and James Wiseman – has the highest upside of any of the team’s lineups, but the results haven’t been there so far. That unit has played 161 minutes together, while no other five-man group has played more than 37. In those 161 minutes, the Warriors’ net rating is -20.3.

The team will have a good opportunity to turn things around this week, with home games against the 4-11 Timberwolves on tap for Monday and Wednesday.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Nearly one year after the Warriors and Timberwolves made a blockbuster trade involving D’Angelo Russell and Wiggins, Anthony Slater of The Athletic explains why he thinks Golden State has gotten the better end of that deal. As Slater outlines, neither Russell nor Wiggins has been a major difference-maker, but the Warriors were able to avoid the tax last season by dumping salary in that trade and are still owed a Wolves first-round pick that will likely land in the lottery.
  • Within the same story, Slater says that – while the 2021 Timberwolves first-rounder owed to Golden State is top-three protected – the Warriors shouldn’t worry about Minnesota finishing with a bottom-three record. Even in that scenario, there’s still about a 60% chance that the Wolves’ pick will land in the No. 4-7 range and will change hands.
  • The Warriors have discussed the possibility of sending rookie guard Nico Mannion, who is on a two-way contract, to the G League bubble at Walt Disney World next month, tweets Slater. I haven’t played a full game since March 12,” Mannion said. “Going down there, getting into a flow, would be good for me.” The Santa Cruz Warriors are one of 18 teams participating in the revamped NBAGL season.

Northwest Notes: Harris, Towns, Lillard, Green, Hill

Despite the Nuggets opening the season with a 4-5 record, the team is widely recognized as having one of the best offenses in the league — one that significantly improves when Gary Harris finds his rhythm, head coach Mike Malone acknowledged.

“Gary allows us to be a different team when the offense is flowing like it was tonight,” Malone said after Denver’s 115-103 win over Philadelphia on Saturday, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post. “…Gary deserves it. He’s been working so hard, and for him to see the ball go through the net, I’m just happy for him because I know it’s been on his mind.”

Harris finished with 21 points against the Sixers, shooting 7-of-11 from the field and 5-of-8 from three-point range in 28 minutes. He’s been a key cog in Denver’s offense for several years, averaging double-digit points per game in each of his last six seasons. The team could use his offensive production as it looks to contend in an already-crowded Western Conference this season.

There’s more from the Northwest Division tonight:

  • Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic examines the return of Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, who finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds and four assists in an overtime loss against the Spurs on Saturday. “People don’t know the toughness that he has, not just physically but mentally, too,” head coach Ryan Saunders said postgame. “I’ll always ride with KAT. Tonight was evident of that. He was clearly limited. I thought he was unbelievably effective.”
  • Damian Lillard and his camp have advocated for the Blazers to acquire Warriors forward Draymond Green over the past couple of years, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic (hat tip Dan Feldman of NBC Sports). However, there has been no indication that Golden State has any interest in trading Green, who has spent all nine seasons of his career with the Warriors.
  • Marc Spears of The Undefeated examined the Jacob Blake decision and more with Thunder guard George Hill, who offered insight about topics on and off the court. “I can’t speak for everybody. I can only speak for myself. I just think with the way the world is going, I just think we all need to come together,” Hill said as part of a larger quote addressing where players should go with the social justice movement this season. “We’re 450 [players] and when 450 stand strong, we’re more powerful than everyone thinks. We’re way more powerful than they think we are. I learned a lot from LeBron [James] and how he migrated and moved on and off the floor. He is a huge inspiration with how he uses his leverage to open doors and how powerful he is. That is just one guy. Four hundred and fifty can be really strong if we just come together.

Western Notes: Clarkson, Green, Kings, McLaughlin

Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson has been fined $25K by the league for making contact with a game official, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. The incident occurred during the second quarter of Utah’s loss to the Suns on Thursday. Clarkson, one of the top reserves in the league, re-signed with the Jazz on a four-year deal in November.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Draymond Green‘s season debut with the Warriors didn’t go smoothly, Nick Friedell of ESPN notes. Green didn’t make a basket in 18 minutes and failed to have a significant impact on the defensive end. He missed most of training camp, all three preseason games and the first four regular-season games due to COVID-19 protocols and a foot injury. “Draymond just looks like he’s getting his wind,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He looked like a guy who missed training camp and has been working his way to get onto the floor. It looked like an exhibition-style game for him; and that’s not a criticism, it’s just where he is physically.”
  • Until rookie Tyrese Haliburton suffered a wrist injury, the Kings had seemingly settled on a closing group of De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Haliburton, Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic“With that group, you know the shot can come from anywhere,” Fox said. “You have multiple guys on the court who can make shots, get in the paint, get to the free throw line and things like that.”
  • Guard Jordan McLaughlin waited until the deadline to sign his qualifying offer from the Timberwolves and he doesn’t regret that decision, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. McLaughlin signed his two-way contract on December 17, which delayed his season debut as he cleared COVID-19 protocols. “It was definitely tough,” McLaughlin said. “I’m a team guy, and I want to be with the team and do everything I can, but me and my agency, we had to figure out what was best for my case and scenario.”