Draymond Green has been one of the NBA's more fiery presences over the past few seasons, and his antics throughout the Golden State Warriors' record-setting 2015-16 campaign may have rubbed some teammates the wrong way.
According to ESPN The Magazine's Ethan Sherwood Strauss, former Warriors center Marreese Speights said Green's propensity to berate teammates affected how the team functioned.
'Draymond f---ked up practice and s--t,' then-Warriors center Speights said. 'Draymond's a good guy, but I think at the end of the day, it hurt the whole chemistry of the year.' One player in particular, he says, took much of the heat: 'Draymond and Klay [Thompson] got into it a lot.' (Thompson declined to comment for this story.)"
However, Speights denied making the comments:
Green's tendency to lash out verbally and physically was under a microscope throughout the 2015-16 season, and it came to the forefront when ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters relayed news of an outburst during the team's Feb. 27 overtime win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Strauss noted the contents of the verbal altercation, which included a back-and-forth between Green and head coach Steve Kerr: "Inside the visitors locker room, he's hollering 'I am not a robot!' at Kerr. When Kerr tells him to sit down, Green screams,'Motherf--ker, come sit me down!' When he goes after Kerr, his teammates, including [Stephen] Curry and Thompson, step in to stave off disaster."
Citing sources, Strauss reported Green's teammates later voted to fine him.
On the court, his flailing—whether intentional or not—came with repercussions.
The Warriors forward was retroactively assessed a flagrant-2 foul for kicking Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams in the groin during Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, and a similar event in Game 4 of the NBA Finals interrupted the Warriors' momentum.
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Green was suspended for Game 5 of the Finals after he took a swipe at LeBron James' groin area, and the Cleveland Cavaliers won the elimination game at Oracle Arena before mounting an improbable series victory from 3-1 down.
As Strauss noted: "Insofar as there can be unanimity regarding the unknown, the Warriors believe this: The 2016 title would have been theirs if not for Green's Game 5 suspension, the penalty he earned in the waning moments of Game 4 by swiping at LeBron's genitals after James guided his undercarriage over the back of Green's skull."
Green's antics had far-reaching consequences a season ago, but there's no denying the Warriors need him—and his energetic approach—to thrive.
Although Curry, Thompson and Kevin Durant may garner more attention, Green helps unlock things for the Warriors on both ends of the floor.
Green's ability to seamlessly toggle between being a playmaking point forward and a bruising center makes him one of the league's most unique players. And the way he has proved capable of defending all five positions while switching in pick-and-rolls has earned him consecutive All-Defensive first team honors.
While Green's boisterous demeanor may have affected team chemistry, asking him to tone down the intensity after the Warriors won 73 games and came within one victory of a second consecutive Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy could result in less success.