Warriors’ Green talks his way to center stage of playoffs
By Jahmal Corner
May 11 (Reuters) - From trash talk, to tough talk, to straight talk, Golden State’s vociferous forward Draymond Green is jawing his way through the NBA playoffs as the headliner of an otherwise bland postseason.
The Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have beaten the suspense out of basketball as they march toward a third straight NBA Finals meeting.
That leaves just one unpredictability remaining in these playoffs and that would be the 27-year-old Green, a one-man band of commentary and sound bites.
While Golden State has smashed the competition through their first eight games in sweeping to the Western Conference Finals, Green has manhandled the press room.
In the opening round against Portland, Green jawed at the Trail Blazers guard combo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, then explained his art.
“That’s how I grew up playing. You come to the park where we grew up that’s all you hear is people yapping. It does something different to you as a competitor,” he said.
Green’s next target was former NBA player and current TV commentator Charles Barkley, another politically incorrect figure to whom Green has been compared.
“I wasn’t a Charles Barkley fan growing up,” Green said. “No disrespect to Chuck.
"(Chuck) told y’all ... that he wasn’t your kid’s role model anyway. So there you have it, he wasn’t my role model.”
For Green, no topic or player is beyond his crosshairs.
On Boston Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk, Green offered: “Kelly Olynyk is a dirty player, man. I don’t respect guys like that. This dude be out there trying to hurt people man, I don’t rock with bruh like that.”
On the controversial new signature shoe of NBA prospect Lonzo Ball: “This kid has never scored a layup in the NBA. He thinks he’s going to sell a shoe for $500? That’s just absurd.”
Green’s latest take stems from his own comments.
After he said the Cavaliers were the only team playing "good basketball" in the Eastern Conference, the Warriors enforcer blasted ESPN on Wednesday for its reporting of his statements, calling the network “a controversial reality TV show.”
Green’s running narration is actually overshadowing his special run on the court.
If one were to watch the two-time NBA All Star with the volume turned down this postseason, they would be struck by the noise he is making on the floor with his 14.9 points per game, 9.1 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 2.6 blocks and 2 steals.
Some would prefer Green focus his efforts on play rather than say.
Team mate Kevin Durant summed up the notion this week when he said, sarcastically: “You’re not allowed to have an opinion, Draymond, you’re just supposed to play basketball.”
Green will never just play basketball. He will bark his way to technical fouls and headlines, and maybe, ultimately, to the Warriors’ second NBA title in three years.
(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Larry Fine)