Q&A: Draymond Green

Courtesy of Anthony V. Slater

CP3 to Houston, the NBA’s been going kind of crazy with moves. What’s it like being on the outside looking at what’s going down?

“It’s been enjoyable to watch.”

Consensus is you guys have kind of forced these moves.

“We just play our game. If people need to make moves to beat us, then make the moves. But we just play our game and sit back and watch the rest.”

In particular, what do you think of that James Harden, Chris Paul pairing?

“Two great players. It’s not really my job to dissect that trade or figure out how it works. It’s their job to figure that out. But you definitely have two great players, two great competitors.”

Were you surprised by the Chris Paul thing?

“I was surprised by it. I didn’t see it coming. I was definitely surprised by it. It’s different. I wasn’t expecting him to opt-in. It’s completely different than what I thought.”

You guys have 10 free agents. You’re not one of them. But how confident are you that you can bring back not only Kevin and Steph, but Andre, who has been rumored to be looking around?

“I feel confident. Our front office will do whatever it takes to make sure we’re in the best position to win next year. That’s all I can really worry about. I have faith and trust in them that they’ll get the job done.”

Will you be on the recruiting trail like in year’s past?

“Um, there’s been some rumblings about having some other people join. But I don’t think I’ll be flying around this year. I’m done flying since winning a championship. But I’ll be on the phone and involved in the process.”

As many free agents as you have, the assumption is the big names are staying. Do you look at it apprehensively at all?

“Everyone has to make their own personal decision. And I respect whatever decision guys make. We want to keep this thing together as long as we can and win as much as we can. But guy’s decisions are based on different things. Some people, it’s money. I grew up knowing you don’t count another man’s pockets. I’m not going to say, ‘Hey, Andre, somebody’s offering you more money, but don’t take that money.’ He’s a grown man. He’s going to make the decision he wants to make. Obviously he knows how bad we want him here. I love playing with him. But I’ve never been one to count someone’s pockets and I won’t start now.”

With that said, Steph has been very underpaid in year’s past, do you almost want him to just, hey, take your money, get your max?

“Nah, like I said, I don’t count people’s pockets, so I don’t really care if he takes his full max or not. That’s his money, not mine.”

Your rookie, Jordan Bell, is here. I know you reached out to him on draft night. What do you think of that pick?

“Great pick. He brings something to this team that not many people can do, that we don’t have. I look forward to getting in the gym with him, getting some workout in. Obviously going into the season, he’ll become a part of this thing. But I’m looking forward to seeing him in summer league. I’m looking forward to seeing where his career takes him. Because he has a lot of tools that can take him far if he puts the work in.”

He’s been pretty open about saying he emulates you. Do you see that?

“I do. I see a lot of things. Number 1, it’s just that passion he brings to the court. He’s all over the floor making plays. I definitely see some of that in him. The way he plays, you can tell there’s no shortage of work ethic.”

What kind of reaction did you get for the suit jacket and shorts at the NBA Awards?

“Mixed reactions. A lot of people liked it, a lot of people had jokes. Drake talking about fashion just doesn’t work. If Drake thinks it’s good, then I’m wrong. I can’t wear anything that he thinks is OK. I’m perfect with him not expecting it. If he approves, your wrong, all the way wrong.”

—————(From the press conference)———————

Draymond Green on his defensive intelligence…

“Growing up in Saginaw, a city where they love basketball, they just want to see you play. A lot of people will just roll the balls out and say just go play. And sometimes you need to do that because it teaches you how to play. But I was blessed to have coaches growing up where they rolled the basketball out enough, but they took time to teach me fundamentals. Coaches taught me help-side defense when I was 12. Here I am, I think I’m a pretty good on-ball defender, but I think I’m a spectacular help defender. But that didn’t start three years ago, that didn’t start seven years ago. I learned help-side defense when I was 12. I don’t know how many people can say that. Nor do I think I want to teach a 12-year-old help-side defense. It’s pretty boring. But it’s helped me get to the point I am today. I’m thankful for those lessens. From that point on, it’s all about building the IQ. I was just blessed to have the right coaches that actually taught me the game of basketball and it wasn’t just go play. Because I could always play. I was bigger than everyone and could handle the ball. I was the tallest guy on the floor and I was playing point guard. I knew how to play, but actually having to learn the game and then being able to apply that, it helped me as I moved further along because guys continued to get better and better, stronger and faster and continued to jump higher. But the one thing that’s always been great for me is my brain.”

On Bob Myers winning Executive of the Year…

“This award is great. I think it still doesn’t do justice on the impact he’s had. We’re trying to build a dynasty here. The Executive of the Year award is great, but I won’t be satisfied until he’s heading to the Hall of Fame. That’s where I think he’s heading. I’m going to sit back and enjoy it happen.”

On his friendship with Bob Myers…

“We talk about everything. From my technical fouls to the league to our team, the pulse of our team, everyday life, fatherhood. You name it. It’s great to have someone like that. You look around. I don’t know if there’s many, if any, players who can say they have the relationship with the general manager, president of the team that I have with Bob. It’s special because he’s so much more than just that for me. If I had to rank what he means in my life, the general manager and president thing probably comes last. It’s a life coach, a big brother relationship. He’s all that for me.”

On why that relationship is so strong…

“Over the course of time, the last five years, we would talk and eventually talk about other things. A lot of our relationship is because of the things that I’ve gone through. When you get suspended for Game 5 and he comes and sits with you in the Coliseum and watches a baseball game, he don’t have to do that. But he leaves the game to come and watch with me. It’s small things like that that gives you a love for someone, a respect for someone and over the years we’ve got closer and closer. Me being completely pissed off about something and I’m like Bob, I’m about to go nuts. And he’s like, yeah, you can — and that’s the thing, he never tells me no, don’t do that — he says, yeah, you can, but if I were you I’d do it this way. And I’m like, yeah, that makes more sense than what I was about to do. But it’s never ‘Don’t be you. Don’t be who you are.’ It’s, hey, Bob, the league just did this and I’m going nuts in the media right now. Well, alright, you can do that, but if you just say, yeah, I shouldn’t have done that it’ll be better for everyone. But I’m like, man, I don’t want to do that. But he has a way of always knowing what to say in any situation. And over the course of the years that’s helped me so much in my life in general. Not just in basketball.”

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