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May 29, 2019

Draymond Green

Toronto, Ontario - Practice Day

Q. Draymond, I saw a couple of days ago you described yourself as the best defender ever. Can you talk about why you have that kind of conviction about your place in the all-time list, and where Kawhi Leonard ranks for you?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I think as a competitor, if you're trying to do something meaningful, if you don't have the mindset that you're the best ever, you failed already. So if you don't have the mindset that you are the best reporter ever, then you already failed.

That's been my mindset since I can remember. That will be my mindset as long as I can remember anything -- that I am the best ever at what I do. And every day that I step on the basketball floor I will strive to be that. But my mindset will always be as such, as I am the best to do what I do. And that will give me a shot at being the best.

But before you can ever reach anything you have to believe it. You don't just mistakenly become great at something. You probably at one time or another believed that you can be great at that and then you work to get great at that and you reach that greatness. But you don't mistakenly become great. And then you start to believe, oh man, I'm great at that. No, you believed that before and you worked to get that. So I always believed that. And I work every day to reach that.

Q. Kawhi has a great nickname based on his defense: "Klaw." If he has a great nickname --
DRAYMOND GREEN: I think he got that nickname because he has some of the largest hands we all have seen. However, his defense is great.

Q. If he is Klaw, what are you?

Q. What kind of challenge is DeMarcus facing just as an athlete who hasn't played in whatever six weeks or so, and he's probably going to get dropped in this series at the later stages of his rehab and have to kind of survive on the court.
DRAYMOND GREEN: A huge challenge. When you talk about DeMarcus, he's someone who's been great in this league for years now. He's probably played basketball what, 16 out of the last 19 months, so that right there alone is a challenge in itself. Then you start to talk playoff experience, where you and I both know the intensity level is completely different than a regular-season game, and he doesn't have much playoff experience. And then you get dropped in the NBA Finals. It's kind of like some kid who grew up in the suburbs going to private school and then one day you just got dropped in the hood and was told to survive. You got to figure that out. It's very similar to that.

Now in saying that, if you're that kid that's dropped in the hood, like what do you revert to? You just revert to what you know. You do whatever it is that you know. You just try to do that to survive. Well, one thing we do know is DeMarcus is a great basketball player. So at that point then you just go out there and you do what you're great at. And everything else will fall in line.

But I think it's also on us. You know that kid has a much better chance of surviving if he gets with the right group of friends in that neighborhood. It's on us as his teammates to help pull him through, to get whatever we can out of him to help make us a better team and do whatever we can to put him in the best position to be successful.

Q. Curious when you watched Toronto, do you see any of your traits in Kyle Lowry and the way that you guys kind of sell out to win individual possessions? And what's sort of your impression of Kyle Lowry?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I got mad respect for Kyle. A friend, first off. We won a gold medal together. In college, a guy who got it out of the mud. He wasn't always an All-Star. He wasn't always a starter. But he got it out of the mud and he's where he's at today. He's faced a lot of doubt. He's been criticized a ton, this year and previous years before, but yet he's still standing and he's here in this moment and it's well deserved.

Q. Sticking actually with the you and Lowry comparison, a lot of guys in the scrums out there have referred to both you and Kyle as the emotional leaders of each respective team. I was wondering if you can kind of put into words what you think that title means to you or how you describe that title.
DRAYMOND GREEN: That title means a lot to me. But with that title comes great responsibility because when you are an emotional leader, your team feeds off that. And if you don't bring that, your team usually lacks in that area. So as it is, Steph has to score, Klay has to score -- that's their job, that's the reality of it. I have to bring that emotion to the table. That's my job. That's the reality of it.

But yet it's something that I enjoy. It's a role that you don't get nights off. You're going to have off nights shooting. You're going to have nights where you turn the ball over. You're going to even have nights where you don't get as many rebounds. You don't get off nights as an emotional leader, and if you do, the ramifications, they're not good. So just have to make sure you're always on and trying to bring that every single night.

Q. You guys have had to prepare for a lot of great individual players in the playoffs over the last few years. Is preparing for Kawhi a little different in that he doesn't really dominate at one or two things but he seems to be good at just about everything on the court? Is that a unique challenge?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I wouldn't necessarily say he's not dominant because he just dominates the game. So I think the challenge with Kawhi is it doesn't look the same. Like when Steph dominates a game, Kevin dominates a game, Damian Lillard dominates a game, LeBron dominates a game, it does not look the same as when Kawhi is dominating a game. So it can fool you to just say, we can just guard him this way or we can do this or we don't have to put too much focus into him. It doesn't look the same; it's not as pretty. But, boy, is it effective.

So where a lot of those guys that I just named are like natural God-given scorers, Kawhi isn't that. Kawhi didn't come into this league as a scorer, yet he's one of the best scorers we have in the league now. It just doesn't look the same, but the results are the same and/or better. He's really worked to get to where he is today. With that type of work that he's put in also comes a different mindset because you also understand how much you had to work to get to where you are today. And that comes with a different mindset, a different appreciation. When you have that different appreciation, it shows in your play. It is showing in his play and it shows in their team being in the NBA Finals.

Q. Your team's defense in the playoffs this year has been so-so in the first half and really good in the second half. Almost like a pattern. I'm wondering if you notice that and second of all, do you think that tendency will be good enough in this series?
DRAYMOND GREEN: Well, I always think anything we do will be good enough. That's the confidence I have in our group. In saying that, I don't think we'll necessarily purposely say, oh, our defense will be okay in the first half but in the second half we're going to turn it on. I do think we have the ability to say, okay, we weren't that good and we need to focus more here, let's lock in this half on the defensive side of the basketball. I do think we have that ability. But you don't go into a series and you don't go into a game with that mindset. You want to put 48 minutes of great basketball out there on both ends of the floor. That will always be our mindset. It's kind of playing out the way it's played, but that's never the goal.

Q. Steve said earlier that this is the best Draymond we're seeing right now. So I kind of have to ask, are you peaking right now?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I don't know what that word means, "peaking." I hope not. No, I hope I continue to play better and better and show signs of peaking, but I hope it's not really me peaking. I hope I'm still getting better. So yeah, I don't believe in peaking. That's funny.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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