Warriors’ Draymond Green says he’s rediscovered ‘love of the game’ and wants to be DPOY again


SAN FRANCISCO – Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has said he has regained “love and joy for the game” after two eventful seasons.

Green, 31, made the proclamation after leading the Warriors – now a league-best 15-2 – to another dominant victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.

“I just got that love back,” Green said after the 119-104 win. “Kind of like I’m going through a lot of s — and the love is waning a bit. But I just found this love and joy for the game and I just love to play basketball and control what I can control. An important point for me this year was just to control what I could control. It means on the pitch, it means with the referees, it means off the pitch – it’s just a step in my life and I think let it show on the basketball court. “

Green admitted that his children played a major role in his desire to prove himself to be one of the best basketball players in the NBA again. After helping the Warriors reach five straight NBA Finals between 2015 and 2019, some in the league have questioned whether Green can still play at the top level after two lackluster seasons in which he battled various injuries and inconsistencies.

For his part, Green said the motivation he got from his family helped propel his impressive start to the season – he averages 8.1 points, 7.6 assists and 7.5 rebounds while playing high level defense.

“My son is getting older, my oldest daughter – she’s 7 now – they push my ass if we lose,” Green said. “So that’s the motivation. And I think for me too, I’ve been s — the last few years, so my kids don’t really understand how good I am. And I want them to see to. how good I am, then they “I’ll have an understanding. And so that’s a motivation for me. When I was playing at the top of my level, which I’m coming back to now, they were like 3 and 1, so it’s motivating for me to play well in front of them so they understand what I’m doing.

“And most importantly, I want to win, I want to be defensive player of the year again, and I want to be an All-Star again. And that motivates me because a lot of people have kicked me out. Same mistake, people made before when I first entered the league – but a lot of people doubted me and doubted me again. And that’s fuel on the fire. “

Green’s teammates and coaches have noticed the extra fire that Green started the season with – and they know that’s one of the main reasons they’ve been so successful in the first month.

“I think Draymond Green is the best defenseman in the world,” said coach Steve Kerr. “I think he’s just had an amazing start to the season. He’s so motivated. He’s so committed every night.”

Green agreed with Kerr’s assessment, while veteran forward Otto Porter Jr. called Green “the anchor of our defense.” Kerr has noted on several occasions how much he feels Green’s run with the US team while winning a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics helped him start the season.

“I think he knows as well as everyone else that we are going as far as he does, when it comes to Steph and the rest of our veterans,” said Warriors goaltender Jordan Poole. “The last two years have been a bit tough and I think he really has a feeling like ‘Alright, we’re back.’ And we were lucky enough to really do it. And especially the guys with the experience, they know what it takes and I think they do a really good job from day one, just trying to get us in. the best possible situation to be ready for it. “

Green said he felt “amazing” to start the season, a premise supported by the way he moves up and down with a lot of energy.

“I take better care of my body today than ever before,” said Green. “I don’t really drink the way I used to anymore. I used to go there a bit. I’m 31 now, so I try to do whatever it takes to make sure my body is in good shape and ready to go. more than I’ve ever done. “

Green made his point by detailing how he feels on the road and why he is confident he can continue to maintain the same level of play throughout the campaign.

“When we’re playing on the road and we got on the plane and got off, I can run down the stairs,” Green said. “And before, I used to walk down the stairs like my knees hurt, my feet hurt. I feel amazing.”

As for the Warriors’ scorching start, Green continues to be cautious as the hype around his team grows – but he sees the building blocks fall into place and knows that the addition of Klay Thompson (ACL and Rehabilitation of ‘Achilles) and James Wiseman (meniscus rehabilitation) will only make them even deeper.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say surprised that it is going well, but a little surprised that it is going so well, as fast as it is,” said Green. “Everyone’s talking about our schedule, there’s some truth to that. I think we haven’t had the toughest schedule in the world, but you can only play against who they put in front of you, and I think it doesn’t matter who we are. We have a lot of confident guys; we must continue to improve, however. We have a long way to go. “