The Perils for the Nuggets in Emulating the Warriors

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /
3 of 5
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Draymond Green.  How I love/hate this cat.  Possibly the most contradictory, confounding player in the game today.

I dig Dray’s fire.  It’s remarkable how often he comes through with a three, a block, a steal or a rebound.  He’s smart and fearless when it comes to leading his team.  Make no mistake, Draymond Green is the leader of the Golden State Warriors.  Physically, spiritually, whateverlly, Green has the engine and the smarts to shock the Dubs out of the malaise they sometimes fall into.

Where it breaks down is when Dray lets that fire and fury loose on opponents.  Then it becomes less classy, less inspirational.  It turns dirty and out-of-control.  We can debate shooting motion all the livelong day, Draymond had a crotch-kicking spell that significantly lowered his esteem.  His brash, all-go style doesn’t lend itself to reputation repair.

To his credit, he does not care.

As valuable as Klay Thompson is to the Warriors, Green is the backbone.  There aren’t many guys that can get in the soon-to-be FMVP’s face mid-game and be both respected and praised for it.

That is Draymond and that is Draymond’s role.  It’s gravy that he’s also an outstanding basketball player.

It’s no coincidence that Draymond and Gary Harris come from the same Michigan State program.  That’s the smart side of Green’s game.  The nasty side is all Dray.

Ultimately, that’s the point and the problem for the Nuggets or any team trying to duplicate the Warriors model.  As detailed above, there are other players like Steph.  There are even other players who can mostly match Klay. Green has no peer in the NBA.  There isn’t another player with the combination of personality, leadership, size and ability at the 4 spot in the NBA. Possibly not at any position, though Marcus Smart comes to mind from the guard ranks.

It’s also not a show that plays well alone.  For as important as Green is to the Warriors, they are equally important to him.  He’s nestled in perfect position to ply his particular brand.

What that means to potential Warrior emulators is that, like the Beatles, it doesn’t work without the precise composition of the Golden State Core.  If you think you have a Draymond that you want to build around, you’d better have a Klay and a Steph as well because it won’t work otherwise.