This year’s NBA playoffs have served as a reminder of how much the provocative power forward sets the tone for the Warriors by being such a pain in the ass to play against
Late in Game 5 of the Western Conference semi-finals between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Golden State Warriors, the Grizzlies’ home crowd sure tried their damnedest to provoke the NBA’s No 1 pest. Some 18,000 fans twirled towels at the Warriors bench – and chanted along as the PA played Whoop That Trick, a local anthem. Given the deafening roar inside FedEx Forum, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the Grizzlies who had the upper hand when, in fact, the Warriors led by 46. In the middle of this madness Draymond Green was firmly in his element: bobbing to the beat, waving a towel and really whooping it up.
There’s been much debate about who’s the best remaining player in the NBA playoffs. But there is no doubt about who’s most exasperating. For the past decade the Warriors’ diminutive power forward has been a 6ft 6in thorn in the side of all who oppose him. In Wednesday night’s Western Conference finals opener against the Dallas Mavericks, Green was back to his familiar shenanigans – flexing on the floor after a tough finish at the rim, sprinting crosscourt to block a corner three, lobbying the refs and otherwise being irritating in the Warriors’ 112-87 victory at home. Green’s official contribution – 10 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and that chef’s kiss closeout block on the Mavericks’ Dorian Finney-Smith – barely captures just what a pain in the ass he is to play against. If anything, these playoffs have served as a reminder of how much the 32-year-old former Michigan State standout sets the tone for the Warriors by being such a massive migraine.