Amick: Have Draymond Green and these Warriors reached the tipping point?


He kept talking about the carry.

This was Draymond Green's first game back after his five-game suspension, and the Golden State Warriors forward completed his league-imposed discipline for dragging Rudy Gobert all over the court as if he were playing basketball in a basketball scenario. the WWE. He was 13 months removed from Jordan Poole's infamous hit, six months removed from Domantas Sabonis' stomp and two weeks removed from Jusuf Nurkić's hit against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night that led the NBA to suspend him indefinitely a day later. . And Green, whose struggling Warriors had led the Sacramento Kings for almost all of this Nov. 28 rematch between playoff opponents, was being consumed by his own intensity, again.

No matter what was going on around him, Green just talked and talked about how Malik Monk had palmed the ball on his way down the court and, like so many thousands of NBA players before him, wasn't penalized. He reenacted Monk's carry in dramatic fashion for the referees (the same ones who had spent almost a minute before biting when a Trey Lyles elbow went uncalled and forced Green to miss) and drew a technical foul from Mitchell Ervin that turned the ball. energy in the building. But that didn't stop Green from moving forward.

After Green was removed from the game seconds later, he told Warriors coach Steve Kerr everything Monk had done. He continued his anti-carrying crusade on the sideline, where Green engaged in a lively shouting match with player development coach Anthony Vereen that involved pointing fingers in Green's direction and was tense enough that Jonathan Kuminga and several others decided to play the role of peacekeepers. . Meanwhile, the Kings rallied from a 24-point deficit on the court. The frustration on the faces of several nearby Warriors, including Klay Thompson, was quite visible. That's right.

Once again, as has happened so many times lately, Green seemed to be obsessed with the micro rather than the macro. With the game, the season and the end of his historic dynasty on the line, Green was so emotionally twisted in the moment that he forgot to consider the long-term ramifications of his actions. The most surprising part, and what seemed to leave the door open for incidents to come, was that Green felt so comfortable at this extra level, as the kids say, even after the two ejections and five-game suspension he already had. had made life unnecessarily difficult for his team this season.

“The Warriors…need to stay poised and play basketball,” TNT announcer Stan Van Gundy had said on the broadcast during that stretch, which led to the Kings' 124-123 victory.

By “Warriors,” of course, he meant Green. And what they really need, with the Feb. 8 trade deadline approaching, is to finally start answering the tough questions that everyone inside the Chase Center seems to want to ignore.

Where is all this going? And with that league-record $400 million payroll (including luxury taxes) hanging over their heads, when might Warriors owner Joe Lacob decide it's time for a significant change? As one front-office executive put it after Green demoted Nurkić: “I imagine some re-evaluations (are happening now).”

But if winning titles is the ultimate goal for all of them (and it is), then the uncomfortable truth is that this revered group of future Hall of Famers can't seem to come close. They are getting beat on most nights, having lost 12 of their last 17 after a 5-1 start. They seem broken in ways that go far beyond the norm, with a litany of late-game situations that have gone south during this brutal start. They look… cooked.

Everyone except Chef Curry, of course. And that is simply not enough.

Steph is still Steph, 35 years old and all. But Thompson, 33, whose impending free agency has added another point of stress after he and the Warriors failed to reach an agreement on an extension, is having his worst year in more than a decade on both ends of the floor. . Green, 33, who was given a four-year, $100 million contract in the summer, can still play at a high level, but it's still a problem because (see above).

The production of Andrew Wiggins, whose revival was a key factor in his 2022 title run, has declined sharply across the board. And how's this to add to the uncertainty: You have a coach in Kerr whose contract ends after this season and a general manager in Mike Dunleavy Jr., who is in his first season filling those huge shoes left behind by the late Bob Myers.

Everywhere you go these days, there are human reminders of how much the Warriors' world has changed. You see Myers on the media side now as an ESPN analyst, the retired Andre Iguodala heading the players union as executive director and former Warriors player/front office executive Shaun Livingston. joining his former teammate in the NBPA. These are all people who used to communicate with Green, men whose credibility came in handy during those many moments when a Green-inspired crisis would inevitably come.

That matters, of course, because it's the absence of a calming effect that could force these Warriors to make tough decisions sooner than they expected. It's hard to keep moving forward when the embers under your feet are so hot. You could see that dynamic in real time in the game in Sacramento, where it became so clear that there was no one on this team, including Steph, who could persuade Green to shift his energy in a more positive direction for the sake of the Greater Good. .

We'll never know what would have happened if the Warriors had taken a harder line with Green in recent years, especially after Poole's hit two Octobers ago. He was never suspended for that ugly act, as the Warriors decided to fine him while giving him the green light for a brief sabbatical that ended just in time for the start of the regular season. The league, which showed deference to the Warriors' celebrated culture in that case and decided to let the organization handle the situation, stood by.

In retrospect, that was clearly a mistake. A soft precedent was set, and the Warriors would later reconfirm their loyalty to Green by re-signing him last summer, shortly before trading Poole to the Washington Wizards (in the three-team deal that brought them Chris Paul).

But it doesn't matter how they got here anymore. The frequency of incidents involving Green, and the near-constant stress it entails for everyone involved, makes it difficult to imagine this group heading off together into the twilight of retirement.

Not at this price. Not with these objectives. And not, especially, with Green sabotaging his twilight years in this way.


Warriors should consider exiting Draymond-vs-NBA drama

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(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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