Draymond Green may not be the best player on the Warriors, but he is a central figure on the NBA's best team. His defensive versatility is the glue that helps hold the team together, and while his trash-talking outbursts anger opponents, his energy fuels Golden State.
That much was apparent when he was suspended from the 2016 NBA Finals for Game Five, after he smacked LeBron James in the family jewels in the final moments of Game Four. With Green on the shelf, the Cavaliers coasted to a 15-point win in Oakland, and perhaps more importantly, Andrew Bogut got hurt, removing a critical component of Golden State's rotation for the final two games of the championship series.
Looking back on it now, Green told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi that he accepts responsibility for the team blowing a 3-1 lead to Cleveland.
"One of the most brutal things I've ever had to go through in my life," said Green. "If I played, we win of course, so I do feel it's my fault that we lost. Absolutely my fault."
While there were other factors that led to Golden State's defeat—that LeBron guy is pretty good, and Steph Curry didn't exactly have his best series—Green's absence in Game Five was a major turning point in the series. Green is not the type of guy to duck criticism for his mistakes, either, and he finally appears ready to acknowledge the role his shenanigans played in the loss.
But apparently accepting blame doesn't mean he regrets what he did.
"He stepped over me. And I had a natural reaction to get him from over me, like you don't step over a grown man," said Green. "It's disrespectful, and if it happened again I would do the same thing, get off me ... I don't feel wrong for what I did at all."
The honesty is appreciated, but it seems crazy to say the series loss was one of the worst things to ever happen to you, blame yourself for it, and then claim you would do it all over again if you were in the same position. Maybe he's right though—if the Warriors win that series, maybe they don't go out and sign Kevin Durant, and the future of the NBA is monumentally different.
You can watch the full video of Green talking about the incident with LeBron up top, and try not to get inspired to take nut shots at your opponent.