Draymond Green

Warriors' Green lauds Kyrie Irving for going to Celtics

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Warriors' Green lauds Kyrie Irving for going to Celtics

Kyrie Irving had been to three straight NBA Finals as a teammate of LeBron James, and the Cavs could have continued to dominate the East as long as James and Irving were together in Cleveland.

So his decision to walk away from a sure thing and try to become the focal point of his own championship-level team in Boston surprised some people. But not the Warriors' Draymond Green.

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“I wouldn't necessarily say it surprised me. I'd say more than anything, [it upped] the respect level I have for him,” Green said in a story posted on NBC Sports California. “That's tough to do. I don't think people take into account that he put so much pressure on himself by doing that . . .

“You have to deliver with that. He’s basically saying, ‘OK, I’m ready to deliver.’ . . . "

Green also admired the fact that Irving -- not a free agent -- couldn't pick and choose his destination.

“[He] could have gotten traded anywhere. But he pretty much said, ‘I don’t care where I go. I’m going to make it happen.’ That says a lot about who he is, as a competitor. His character. That says a lot about him . . .

“[The] willingness to do that, knowing the pressure that comes with that, and saying ‘I'm ready to do it. Let’s do it.' That's what stood out to me, more than anything.”

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30 teams in 30 days: Warriors remain in league of their own

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30 teams in 30 days: Warriors remain in league of their own

The Golden State Warriors will begin this season with a bull’s-eye on their back, which isn’t all that different than the past few seasons.
 
NBA champs two of the past three seasons, Golden State will again begin the season as the overwhelming favorite to house the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
 
And unlike past seasons, there are few question marks or concerns about this team other than complacency.
 
“They know they’re really good. We know they’re really good. Will they stay hungry to win it all?” an NBA executive texted CSNNE.com. “I expect them to be just as locked in; maybe even more this season because of the chance to repeat as champs.”
 
Indeed, Golden State has a roster that’s strong on all levels of play.
 
Their starting unit consists of the league’s MVP three of the past four years with Kevin Durant (2014) and Stephen Curry (2015 and '16). Draymond Green remains a defensive stalwart with the kind of across-the-board versatility that creates matchup problems on a nightly basis.
 
And then there’s Klay Thompson, one of the league’s premier shooters. He averaged a career-high 22.3 points last season while shooting 414 percent on 3’s.
 
With very few holes of note in their roster, Golden State did address its bench by adding one of the league’s true feast-or-famine shooters in Nick Young.
 
The majority of Young’s career has been spent coming off the bench, but last season he made a career-high 60 starts for the Los Angeles Lakers while averaging 13.2 points per game.
 
Even more significant for the Warriors was the fact that he shot 40.4 percent from 3-point range.
 
“They really don’t have any one or two areas you can exploit,” one league scout told CSNNE.com. “They don’t have great size up front, but tremendous versatility. Who would have thought two, three years ago that you could play Kevin Durant sometimes at center and not get killed by it? Other than injuries or boredom, it’s going to be really, really hard to see someone in the NBA leap-frogging past them this season.”
 
Key free agent/draft/trade additions: Nick Young (Los Angeles Lakers); Omri Casspi (Minnesota).
 
Key losses: Matt Barnes (free agent).
 
Rookies of note: Jordan Bell.
 
Expectations:
65-17 (first in the Pacific Division, first in the East)