Warriors' Steve Kerr Praises Draymond Green: I'm Thankful to Go to War with Him

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 24, 2021

TOKYO, JAPAN -  AUGUST 7: Draymond Green #14 of the USA Men's National Team poses for a photo with Assistant Coach, Steve Kerr after winning the Gold Medal Game of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on August 7, 2021 at the Super Saitama Arena in Tokyo, Japan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)
Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

There's no doubt that Draymond Green plays the game with a level of passion and intensity that at times has rubbed people the wrong way. 

But head coach Steve Kerr told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic that Green's fire is part of why he loves coaching him:

"We both have the ability to snap, to completely lose our minds. So you're right, we are more alike than people would guess. I think the competitive fire inside us is actually very similar. It drives us. It's what drove me from the time I was a little kid to now. It's what's driven Draymond. That competitiveness is always going to drive us.
"It's part of who we are organizationally; it's part of who we are individually. It's something I look at, and every day I'm thankful to go to war with Draymond Green."

Most of the questions surrounding the Warriors at this point revolve around whether they can return to the postseason this year after missing the past two playoffs (though they did make the play-in tournament last year). 

A few unresolved questions will likely be the determining factor.

Can Klay Thompson, after missing the past two seasons, return to the player he was before the injuries? Can Stephen Curry maintain the MVP-esque level he played at last season? Will James Wiseman take the next step after a so-so rookie season? How much will rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody contribute this year? And do the Warriors have another big trade in them as they look to maximize the window of Curry, Thompson and Green?

"The way we played at the end of last year, last 20 games, we'd like to carry that momentum forward," Kerr said, referencing the team's 15-5 close to the 2020-21 regular season. "You know, how can we get off to a similar start to the way we finished last year?"

Granted, players returning from injury like Thompson and Wiseman aren't expected to be available in the early going. The latter's absence means Green could find himself playing the 5 when the Dubs go small, a role he's handled in the past. 

"I think the league has changed quite a bit," Kerr said. "I know if you look at our teams historically over the last six, seven years we've always carried a lot of centers. But think about the last part of last season. We played Draymond at five so much. We even played Juan [Toscano-Anderson] at five. The league seems to be getting smaller and quicker every single year. So I think we're less inclined to carry a bunch of centers like we used to."

Green, 31, averaged seven points, 7.1 rebounds, 8.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game last season, shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 27 percent from three. He remains the keystone of the team's defense, a vital facilitator on offense and the team's emotional leader.