The absence of Kevin Durant in this year's Western Conference Finals has given Draymond Green the opportunity to remind everyone why he is the heart and soul of the Golden State Warriors. Green has always been their stalwart defensive player, but this series against the Portland Trail Blazers has allowed him to show what he's capable of accomplishing as the team's beating heart (sorry Steph), averaging 16 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, three blocks, and two steals per game.
Green's ascension on the offensive side of the ball has coincided with a decline in emotional outbursts, which typically led to unnecessary technical fouls. On Sunday, Draymond addressed his change in behavior, singling out a moment that he says "kind of stuck with me" during his much-publicized feud with Durant back in November.
"It's funny because when the stuff happened with Kevin earlier this year, he said, like, 'Everybody is giving you this pass like, Oh, that's just Draymond. He's emotional,'" Green recalled, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic. "But (Durant) said to me then, like, 'You're not emotional. I've seen you lock in and not say a word to the referees. I'm not giving you that pass.' That's kind of stuck with me."
For Green, an eight-game stretch without a technical is an impressive feat for someone who has been known his entire career for getting on a referee's bad side. Draymond has recently found himself in a more reflective mood. He also admitted to curbing his on-court antics after realizing just how impressionable his behavior is in the eyes of his son.
The Warrior need one more win two advance to their fifth straight finals.