Draymond’s punch worried Warriors owner Lacob ‘a little bit’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Warriors’ quest to repeat as NBA champions hit a colossal speed bump in October when Draymond Green punched teammate Jordan Poole at practice.
Video of the incident was leaked. It was not a good look. Green took a leave of absence from the team and vowed to earn back his teammates’ trust.
“I didn’t worry about it as much as everyone else did,” Warriors owner Joe Lacob said in an interview with The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami. “When you see it, it’s visceral. It’s like anything else — when there’s a video, it all gets enhanced. … It got amplified. You see it and you got concerned. It certainly did affect us, there’s no question. Was I worried? Honestly, a little bit. But I felt we would get through it, and we are through it.”
Warriors superstar Steph Curry, coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers addressed the incident the day after it happened. Golden State did not suspend Green, but he did miss a pair of preseason games during his time away from the organization.
Lacob told Kawakami the Warriors considered potentially suspending Green but didn’t go through with it.
“It was a complicated situation,” Lacob said. “Look, it was a bad thing to do. Draymond made a big mistake. He has admitted it; he has apologized. But he’s earned a lot of points by being on this team and being an important part of this organization for a lot of years. There have been some other incidents that haven’t been so great either, but overall, he’s been a positive element in this organization. It was a close call, but we didn’t think [a suspension] was the right thing to do.”
Lacob admitted Green’s punch “hurt us a little bit” and was one of the contributing factors to the team’s slow start.
Fast forward three months, and Green has been exactly the leader Golden State needs him to be. His shift to play more minutes with youngsters like Jonathan Kuminga and James Wiseman on the Warriors’ second unit transformed the bench’s production, an area that plagued the team to start the season. He has produced a positive net rating (1.1) while sharing the floor with Poole for 640 minutes this season, the third-most of any Warriors tandem.
Over the last nine games — all without Curry — Green is averaging 7.0 points, 9.1 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 32.5 minutes.
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“I think he’s earning the respect to the extent that he lost it to some of the other players on the team, which matters most,” Lacob said. “Certainly those in the organization, the coaches, matter too. I think he’s earned that. Draymond talks a lot, and of course you notice he’s been quiet lately. What is he doing? He’s doing his job. And he’s doing it really well. He’s leading by example.
“I think Draymond has so far really played quite well this year and helped lead us back from a bad start. He gets a lot of credit for that.”
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