Money matters. Take it from someone who doesn't care about money and is perpetually broke. The Warriors' stalwart small-ball five, Draymond Green on the other hand, cares about money. It's the easiest way for NBA players, especially ones like Green—whose skills lean towards the ethereal realm of anticipation and help defense—to judge where they fall in the NBA's hierarchy. But that's not what Dray copped to when talking about his zest to be named the 2018-19 NBA Defensive Player of the Year following the Warriors' 131-121 win over the Pelicans on Wednesday.
"I need [the DPOY]," Green said after the game. "I need that bad. Real bad. I made second team all-defense last year. I'm pissed about that still. I'll be pissed until I right that, so that's a serious goal of mine this year. And I'm on it every night."
When asked if he thinks about the snub when he wakes up in the morning, he didn't hesitate. "Absolutely. I'm pissed. Second-team All-Defense, that's disrespectful," Green said.
The the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year's purported gripe might not be the only factor in his obsessing about the award, which is voted on by the media. No, there's money involved and like we said, money matters, especially when you're talking about the difference between a max deal and a designated player "super max."
Green would be eligible for a five-year, $235 million super max starting in 2020 if he won the Defensive Player of the Year award this season. A super max means earning 35 percent of a team's salary cap, whereas a regular max is only 30 percent. Because of that, a regular max deal would be closer to $200 million over that same timeframe. It's true that $200 million is a ton of money, but with a $35 million difference (give or take a few million depending on where the salary cap actually falls in 2020), it's hard not think that it also plays a role in Green's determination to claim the award again. That extra five percent adds up.
While it's commendable to think Green is trying to make voters eat it for voting him to the All-Defensive Second Team last year, the money probably plays a pretty significant role, too. Call it a hunch.