BOSTON — Draymond Green does not think his postgame podcasts during these NBA playoffs are telling any secrets. But they must be of some value to opponents—Celtics staffers are listening in. There's no question that the podcasts are an unprecedented feature in the evolving world of athletes talking directly to fans. It's less clear how they might support teams' scouting efforts.
In the Draymond Green Show, listeners are hearing in the middle of the playoffs what one of the sport's most cerebral players is thinking about the games he is playing in. The fact that someone as savvy as Green is speaking unprompted for roughly 30 minutes following each game is a first for the NBA. It's provided fascinating content for the league's observers far and wide.
Make no mistake—several Boston coaches are tuning in to every episode.
Dallas Mavericks staffers at least monitored snippets of the feed for information as well during the Western Conference Finals.
"Especially with the amount of time between Finals games," one NBA assistant coach told B/R. "Both teams are definitely looking for any small advantage they possibly can."
Green said after Wednesday's Game 3 he has no concerns he's tipping the Warriors' hand: "No. I don't say much different on the podcast than what I say [in postgame press conferences]."
Given the example that he had spoken about how the Warriors altered their approach to Derrick White, Marcus Smart and Al Horford between Games 1 and 2, Green dismissed any notions he'd said too much, saying, "That was just contested shots."
Multiple coaches and executives contacted by B/R also shrugged about Green's postgame programming. These are the sport's foremost coaches in the world. They see real-time adjustments and scheme tweaks. They process the action taking place on the hardwood almost instantaneously.
"I can see having someone on [the rival] staff listen, just in case there is something you didn't know," another assistant coach texted B/R. "But I think you are gonna be on top of things already."
Still, each data point in the NBA can help cast a wider net for an opponent. Every trade window, front-office personnel scroll through their Rolodexes in hopes of logging even the smallest intel on their opponents. Every draft period, the men and women hunkered down in war rooms across the map have collected countless shreds of knowledge to better understand whom rival teams will pick before their selection even arrives on the clock.
Following a Game 1 Warriors loss in which White, Smart and Horford shot 15-of-23 from distance, Green said on his podcast there would be changes for Game 2. He spoke of wanting to contest those shooters more.
Yes, that’s an obvious adjustment that Boston staffers would have prepared for, but being prepared for an outcome is far different from expecting it. The Warriors could have simply decided to dare White, Smart and Horford to make lightning strike Chase Center twice.
Some information can have a notable effect on playoff strategy. The Utah Jazz were prepared for Luka Doncic to play several of the early games in their opening-round series, but only until Dallas ruled the All-NBA floor general unavailable, which only happened when the Mavericks were finally required to by league rules. The Philadelphia 76ers took a $50,000 fine for failing to disclose Joel Embiid's status against Miami until after the NBA's firm deadline for doing so.
Those instances have far greater consequences than whether the Warriors planned to close out on White or Smart or Horford more aggressively in their next battle. But it was a data point nonetheless. From a Boston perspective, you could consider that idea was at least important enough to Green for him to repeat on his podcast. It's no secret to rival coaches that Warriors coach Steve Kerr and his staff often meet privately with Green, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala for deeper film discussion in addition to teamwide sessions. The tiniest comment from Green can at least provide the Celtics with some bulletin-board material.
Green and various league sources may dismiss the idea that his podcast is giving the Celtics any advantage. But for whatever reason, Celtics staffers are listening. That's testament to the special value of the show.
*Jake Fischer covers the NBA for Bleacher Report and is the author of Built to Lose: How the NBA's Tanking Era Changed the League Forever.