NBA: Steve Kerr backs ‘ultimate competitor’ Draymond Green after playoff suspension
SAN FRANCISCO – Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr defended Draymond Green as the “ultimate competitor” on Wednesday following the veteran’s one-game ban for stomping on Sacramento Kings player Domantas Sabonis.
Green was suspended after an explosive incident in the NBA champions’ game two defeat to the Kings in Sacramento on Monday.
Green was ejected from Monday’s clash with Sacramento after stomping on Sabonis after the players tangled following a rebound.
It means the Warriors will be without the four-time All-Star for Thursday’s crucial game three as Golden State aim to haul themselves back into the best-of-seven series that the Kings currently lead 2-0.
Green’s suspension was the latest controversy to embroil the 33-year-old, who was famously suspended during the 2016 NBA Finals for a low blow against LeBron James.
The Warriors, however, circled the wagons in defense of Green on Wednesday, with Kerr saying the latest flashpoint reflected the veteran’s competitive nature.
“He’s the ultimate competitor, the ultimate warrior, winner, champion however you want to call it,” Kerr said of Green.
“Everybody knows he’s going to occasionally tip over the edge and his emotions get the best of him. That’s part of it.
“But there’s no stopping Draymond. You’re not going to be able to put your arm around him and calm him down and say ‘OK, let’s move forward from here.’ It doesn’t work that way. And that’s OK.
“We accept Draymond for who he is and what he stands for — his competitiveness, his fire. Because frankly we feed on that and it helps us win.”
Crossing the line
NBA disciplinary chiefs said Green’s checkered history had been a factor in the decision to issue a one-game suspension.
Kerr said the flipside of Green’s temperament, however, was the four championships he had helped deliver to the franchise.
“Draymond is incredibly competitive, and passionate and fiery, and he’s helped us win four championships,” Kerr said.
“I’ve said it many times. We don’t have a single championship here without Draymond Green and that’s the truth.
“So he’s crossed the line over the years and that’s part of it. But we will go to bat for Draymond and go to battle with him every day of the week.”
Warriors general manager Bob Myers meanwhile said Green had made mistakes in the past but echoed Kerr’s stance that he had been integral to the team’s success.
“He’s a force, he’s unique and he’s a leader,” Myers said. “But he will tell you that he’s made mistakes. You can’t hide from them, they’re out there for everybody to see.
“He’s got a good heart. But that doesn’t mean he’s mistake free. I’m not, nobody is…”
“But if you want to talk about what he’s done for this organization – that’s not in dispute. Without him we probably don’t have any of the championships.”
The NBA’s executive vice president and head of basketball operations Joe Dumars meanwhile told ESPN on Wednesday that Green’s record of past transgressions in conjunction with Monday’s incident had led to the suspension.
“Here’s what it came down to: excessive and over-the-top actions, conduct detrimental and a repeat offender,” Dumars told ESPN.
“That’s what separates this where you end up with a suspension.”