June 1, 2022
Golden State Warriors
Q. You talked about how it takes a different level to play and win at this level, takes a special type of player, a lot of talk about championship DNA. What specifically does it take to have as much success as you've had at this level and continue to make it back here?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I think ego, keeping egos in check. I think a lot of teams get in these positions and, you know, you get to this place like, oh, it's me more than this guy, or it's that more than this guy, or I should be getting more shots, or I should be getting more attention.
And I think that's a huge part of it, and just understanding the pecking order and respecting the pecking order. Not getting so caught up in what's in it for you. What's ultimately in it for you is winning, and when you win, everyone wins. Everybody eats, as we like to say.
So I think that's a very important part of it. And then obviously staying hungry. You know, you kind of get into these lulls at times. The regular season gets boring. You go through the regular season and it's boring and you stop getting better and it catches up to you in the end.
So just really embracing and appreciating each process for what it is, because every year is its own year, is its own journey; and appreciating that journey and actually going through it. Not doing all you can to get around it thinking, oh, man, we'll just get back there. Just appreciating that journey and actually putting yourself in it and going through it. You know, feeling the ups, feeling the downs, and then ultimately it takes some extreme competitors.
I think our coaching staff is extremely competitive. Our players are extremely competitive. Our front office is extremely competitive. Joe Lacob is probably the most competitive guy around. I think that's a huge part of it as well, just that will to win.
Q. As someone that plays defense the way you do, what do you respect or admire about the way Boston defends?
DRAYMOND GREEN: You respect and admire that everyone is defending. You know, there's not a guy who comes on the floor who isn't giving 110 percent on that side of the ball. You have to give a lot of respect to Ime. That's not a much different squad than we've seen the past few years, or at least two years or three. It's not a much different team.
Yet, you know, more has been required of them, and they have answered that bell. So you have to give a lot of credit to him. You have to give a lot of credit to Marcus Smart, who is their leader on that side of the ball. In order to have everyone come in and play, there has to be some leadership there that's holding that all together, that's holding somebody responsible. And to me, I think that's Marcus Smart. I think that plays a huge role in it. I appreciate that more than anything.
Q. To that point on Marcus Smart, Steve Kerr compared you two. I'm not going to ask you to compare you and him, but what do you think he does that you do as a player, too, that makes you two two of the most dominant defenders in the league?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I think he really thinks the game. You can see it the way he plays, the way he's teaching guys, the way he's commanding attention in huddles and going through the X's and O's in the huddles. You see it all.
I think he does a great job of that. I've been speaking on this a lot. I think people tend to forget, Marcus Smart's No. 1 attribute or positive on him coming out of the draft was his leadership and that he's a winner and a true point guard. The qualities that he has, especially on that side of the ball, are those of a leader, are those -- when you see him with the X's and O's teaching -- of a point guard.
I think he's continued to grow into his leadership. I think there were times earlier in his career where most people wouldn't know how to handle it, and so then you end up getting a bad rap and like, oh, this guy is doing too much of this, he's doing too much of that. He's continued to grow into the leader that he's become, and it's been really good to watch.
Q. You've won championships. The Warriors are the model franchise in the NBA and probably professional sports, but it wasn't always like that. What was your impression when Golden State drafted you? What did you know about the organization? Did you know they played in Oakland?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I mean, I knew they played in Oakland because I came and did a pre-draft workout. Before that, I didn't know much. I knew they had won 23 games the year before and were kind of the laughingstock of the NBA.
But I also knew that they had two guys who could really shoot the lights out of the ball, and that it was a young group that was looking to build. Joe Lacob had just bought the team the year before. Joe Lacob and Peter Guber and the entire group, they had just purchased the team. Mark Jackson had just came in. Bob had just taken over as general manager. And you just knew that it was a team, an organization, that was hungry and was trying to go.
And that was the mindset walking in here. Everybody was like, we were the last-ranked defense in the league. We won 23 games. We've been to the playoffs one time in at that point it was ten or eleven years or something like that, maybe a little more.
That was kind of the aura that was around. We just came in hungry and wanted to change that, and we did. But you know, it wasn't always this. I remember walking in downtown Oakland giving away tickets to the game as a rookie for one of our team activations or community things that you have to do, and certain guys had to go on the BART and give tickets away. I remember that. That wasn't that long ago.
A much less respected franchise, but we were able to change that. And that's what it's about.
Q. Yesterday you were talking about how one of the biggest differences that you see between your early Finals runs and this year was that earlier on, you guys were the young players, and now you are the leaders teaching young players. Over the past three years in particular, as you guys went through a 15-win season as you're playing with 19-year-olds, how have you as a leader changed or grown?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I think I've just grown in understanding that the 18-, 19-year-olds of today are not the 19-year-olds when I was 19. Totally different generations. In saying that, I could have just been a 19-year-old who didn't understand other 19-year-olds. When I look back on it now, it's a totally different world that we live in from the year that Jonathan Kuminga is 19 years old, as opposed to the year I was 19 years old.
You end up having to learn their generation because you just can't lead them the same way you could lead someone that's kind of our generation. You figure out what buttons to press, and how do you get to them, how to treat them and what's the best way.
Like I said a couple weeks ago, I learned to treat or look at him as more than a son or a brother, and that's just all part of growth. You're trying to relate to these guys and like, hey, man, I'm going to go do this and you should come do this with me, and that's not what they want to do; and ultimately come to learn, he doesn't hate me, but I'm 32 and he's 19 and what I like to do may just not be cool to him.
I was talking to Travis Walton, who is a brother of mine, but obviously trains me, and he's like, "Yo, what's your relationship like with Jonathan Kuminga?" And this was the beginning of the year.
I said, "Trav, honestly, every time he see me when he's walking by, he just starts laughing."
"Why is he laughing?"
I was like, "I don't really know why."
Trav is like, "Oh, he think you're funny."
I'm like, "I don't necessarily think he thinks I'm funny; I think he's laughing at me."
He's like, "Well, why is he laughing at you?"
I said, "Imagine when you see one of the old heads doing something, if you see an OG, old head doing something, you're going to laugh and be like, 'All right, I see you, OG.' And you're really laughing at the fact that that's so old school that it's funny."
That's how I feel like he was looking at me, like dude, you're just old. You move old. You look old.
But honestly, that was a part of the growth and understanding him and like, okay, he looks at me like I might look at a 55-year-old man that got on his gear, his getup and how he moves. That's how he's looking at me. That helped me further understand how I need to relate to him.
And so it's just been a process of figuring it out and ups and downs, frustration and talking yourself back and talking to other people and talking to Andre and talking to Shaun and figuring out, how did you do it? It's something that you have to want to do, though, because it's a totally different job.
Q. You mentioned a minute ago about how you guys don't let egos get in the way of what you try to do, the end goal. Does Steph set much of a tone in that regard? What's his impact in that regard?
DRAYMOND GREEN: He sets a huge tone in that regard because he is never going to approach you, You are supposed to look at me this way. Which in turn you end up looking at him more that way, as opposed to a guy who is like, Oh, no. You're like, I'm out of here, bro. I don't have to look at you like that. Then it's like a domino effect.
But I think when your leader and the face of your franchise is that way, you have no choice but to be that way. What's your ego compared to his? Why would any of us care if you have an ego, and he doesn't?
So I think it definitely sets a tone, not only for players but for everyone in this organization, and how everyone operates. There's open-door policies. We put our brain together and try to figure out solutions because ultimately the guy who is leading the charge on all of this, he's that way, and there's no right for anyone else to be that way.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports