Draymond Green: 'Disrespectful’ to Compare Celtics Series to Facing LeBron James

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJune 15, 2022

BOSTON, MA  - JUNE 15:  Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors addresses the media during 2022 NBA Finals Practice and Media Availability on June 15, 2022  at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Playing against the Boston Celtics has been a challenge for Draymond Green and his Golden State Warriors teammates.

Just not quite on a LeBron James level.

"It doesn't compare to mentally playing against LeBron James, who I think is arguably the smartest guy to ever play this game," Green told reporters Wednesday. "Not one of—he's arguably the smartest guy to step foot on a basketball court. So, to say it compares to that, it's disrespectful to LeBron and it's a lie to you [the media]."

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Draymond says the Celtics are talented, but it would be "disrespectful" to compare this series to what it was like mentally facing LeBron <a href="https://t.co/MTXmW5JfT3">pic.twitter.com/MTXmW5JfT3</a>

The Warriors played against James' Cleveland Cavaliers in four straight NBA Finals from 2015 to 2018, with Golden State winning three championships. James' lone victory in that rivalry, the 2016 Finals, led to Kevin Durant signing with the Warriors and forever changing the trophy cases of both teams.

On the cusp of a fourth ring after taking a 3-2 lead over the Celtics heading into Thursday's Game 6, Green says Boston has presented a different challenge with its athleticism.

"It is a challenge mentally because these guys are superathletic, they are superyoung and fast and strong, and ... then obviously they're supertalented," Green said. "When you're facing that, you have to try to outthink a guy. If a guy is faster than me, how can I beat him to a spot? I have to anticipate him. I have to think. I have to try to understand what he's trying to get to. So, I think that's been huge in this series from a mental standpoint and just trying to understand and be a step ahead of them."

That being said, Green said playing against James is a "chess match" because of his ability to dissect plays on the fly with his once-in-a-generation basketball IQ. LeBron has flashed a photographic memory of in-game situations, showing an ability to remember individual plays in incredible detail.

While Green said no one compares to James' basketball intellect, he highlighted Marcus Smart as the "brain" of the Celtics operation.