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sport / / BANG: ‘His career was on the line’: Steve Kerr reflects on Draymond Green’s season since last Rudy Gobert matchup

o BANG: ‘His career was on the line’: Steve Kerr reflects on Draymond Green’s seasAllen

BANG: ‘His career was on the line’: Steve Kerr reflects on Draymond Green’s season since last Rudy Gobert matchup


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 by: Allen - Mon, 25 Mar 2024 03:21 UTC

‘His career was on the line’: Steve Kerr reflects on Draymond Green’s
season since last Rudy Gobert matchup
"What he did that night to Rudy was just awful"
>Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (23) grabs Minnesota
Timberwolves’ Rudy Gobert and put him in a headlock during the
confrontation between Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson (11) and
Minnesota Timberwolves’ Jaden McDaniels (3) in the first quarter of a
NBA game at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, Nov. 14,
2023. Green, Thompson and McDaniels were ejected from the game. Green
was issued a Flagrant 2 foul and Thompson and McDaniels were issued
technical fouls. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Danny Emerman is a Bay Area News Group sports reporter
By DANNY EMERMAN | | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: March 24, 2024 at 3:54 p.m. | UPDATED: March 24, 2024 at 3:54

MINNEAPOLIS — For the first time since Nov. 14, when Draymond Green put
Rudy Gobert in a choke hold, the two centers who have defined this
generation of defense will share a court.

Green and Gobert’s personal rivalry reached its apex that night, when
Green earned a five-game suspension for putting Gobert in a headlock
less than two minutes into the game. Green was coming to the defense of
Klay Thompson, who was tangled up with Jaden McDaniels, and later said
he didn’t regret his actions. Gobert described Green’s role in the
skirmish as “clown behavior.”

Four months later, Green and Gobert meet again, this time in Target
Center. Before their rematch, Warriors coach Steve Kerr details Green’s
tumultuous season that nearly went completely haywire after the Gobert

“What he did that night to Rudy was just awful,” Kerr said. “Just dead

After Green served his five-game suspension, he only played five more
games before crossing the line again. In Phoenix, he struck center Jusuf
Nurkic in the face, earning an indefinite suspension.

“Clearly, it didn’t affect him enough, the suspension,” Kerr said. “I
think he got suspended (five) games. But that didn’t affect him enough
to change his behavior, because when he came back, he took the swing at
Nurkic in Phoenix. I really think his career was on the line at that
point. I really do. Like, the way our discussions with the league, the
nature of the suspension — indefinite — it was clear that the league
wanted to see real change. And we all did.”

Green stayed away from the Warriors while being indefinitely banned and
reportedly sought counseling to meet the league’s conditions to return.
He ended up missing 16 games.

At that point, Green had been ejected three times and suspended twice.
He has long been a fiery player and has routinely been among the league
leaders in technicals. But his erratic behavior, starting with punching
Jordan Poole before last season, had taken a darker turn.

“I’ve said this many times, yelling at the ref or getting a flagrant
foul, that’s just being a competitive NBA player. But when you strike
someone, when you grab somebody by the throat, that’s different. So what
was happening was different. Punching Jordan (Poole) was different. And
scary, and alarming.”

Since returning to the Warriors in mid January, Green has avoided major
incidents. Kerr has said that the power forward has needed to balance
being competitive and aggressive without acting out in a way that could
risk his availability to the team.

Green has been whistled for a handful of technical fouls, but hasn’t
been ejected from a game. He recently got involved in a dust-up with
Santi Aldama and Desmond Bane, but no one got thrown out in the brouhaha.

“I could not be more proud of Draymond for the way he has handled
everything since the suspension ended,” Kerr said. “We were all
wondering, could you really make a significant change within a month?
Could you still play at a high level if you did make that change? Could
you still be an effective player? Could you still be a leader on your
team? How do you figure all that stuff out? Draymond is one of the
smartest, most emotional people I’ve ever met. Passionate. And he’s done
it. He’s figured it out.”

In Minnesota, Green and Gobert match up in a battle of elite defenders.
With his hoops I.Q. and rare ability to guard every position, Green
revolutionized how teams play defense in the NBA. Gobert has three
Defensive Player of the Year trophies compared to Green’s one.

During All-Star weekend in 2022, Green said he doesn’t appreciate when
people compare him with the Timberwolves center, saying “we’re not alike.”

Competing against Gobert and Minnesota will be another test for Green
and his ability to toe the tightrope of playing with emotion and letting
his emotions overcome him.

“He’s walked the line perfectly,” Kerr said. “Gotten a couple techs for
yelling at the refs, but he has not crossed that line, nor do I expect
him to. I hate that that happened to Rudy and to Nurkic. I hate that
that happened to Jordan. I’ve said this many times, I hate that all that
happened. But I couldn’t be more proud with the way Draymond has
responded, and he’s gotten his career and his life back on track. It’s

sport / / BANG: ‘His career was on the line’: Steve Kerr reflects on Draymond Green’s season since last Rudy Gobert matchup


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