Draymond Green says warriors have no collective will to defend
- February 15, 2023
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3:13 p.m. ET
Kendra Andrews ESPN
LOS ANGELES — Ask just about any member of the Golden State Warriors, and they’ll tell you it’s fitting that they go into the All-Star break at .500 with a 29-29 record.
Their 29th loss of the season came Tuesday night against the LA Clippers, 134-124. Once again, their main problem was defense. The Clippers outplayed the Warriors 44-28 in the third quarter, and Golden State never recovered.
The Warriors’ defense, ranked 19th in the NBA after finishing second in 2021-22, has been what they considered their biggest area of concern all season.
“It has to come from within,” said striker Draymond Green. “Defense is all about the will, the desire to defend yourself. Defending isn’t fun. You just have to do it if you want to win and we didn’t do it.”
More than individual defense, Green said warriors lacked the “collective effort to defend.”
Why they didn’t find that after 58 games into the season Green doesn’t know.
“It’s the will to defend — stop and guard your man and sink, drop the box and turn,” Green said. “Defense is just a step or two more … that’s all will and we don’t have that as a team.”
Golden State’s pick-and-roll defense continues to be an issue. According to Second Spectrum tracking, the Warriors allow 1.02 points per chance vs. on-ball screens, the worst efficiency in the league this season. Last season, they gave up just .91 points per chance against on-ball screens, allowing for the best efficiency.
On Tuesday, the Clippers averaged 1.28 points per chance when using an on-ball screen against the Warriors, the third-highest efficiency Golden State allowed in a game this season. The Clippers also used ball movement to attack the Warriors and had a season-high 33 assists.
“Every man has to decide to take on this challenge himself. This challenge isn’t just guarding the ball. The challenge is that I’m supposed to be there to help, and this guy needs to be able to trust me to go to get there,” Green said. “If he doesn’t trust me to get there, what are you doing then? You foul. We all know that was a problem for us.”
Green has long been the defensive anchor at the Golden State and a leader in holding his teammates accountable. But all season – since his altercation with teammate Jordan Poole during a practice session in October – one felt his voice had been lowered, at least in part.
“Defense is all about the will, the desire to defend yourself. Defending isn’t fun. You just have to do it if you want to win and we didn’t do it.”
Warriors forward Draymond Green
In a January episode of his podcast, Green said he had to walk a fine line “not being Draymond Green” when it came to implementing his usual, more aggressive motivational style. Because his leadership has been lacking, he said, this has led to many battles of the warriors.
He shared a similar sentiment on Tuesday.
“I mean, I’ll always try on this side, but I can be better. I’m just as guilty as anyone,” Green said. “I’m not going to point the finger or blame anyone. If you lead at something and you fail at it, it’s your fault.”
Green believes the group in the Golden State is able to find that collective will to defend themselves, but it won’t magically appear. Unlike seasons past, when there was confidence that everything would work out once the roster was healthy, Green said the Warriors have to dig deep to put a run together.
“It’s now or never,” Green said. “We’re .500 on the break. Middle-of-the-pack team with these mid-of-the-pack stats. You have to come out of the break and win and do it at a high level or you go home in early April. I wouldn’t be happy with that. But that’s what will happen if we don’t make it.”