Draymond embraced therapy, time away from Warriors during suspension

Draymond embraced therapy, time away from Warriors during suspension originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO – Draymond Green openly embraced the counseling he received while serving an indefinite NBA suspension and believes he gained some insight on how to control himself better.

Yet the Warriors star sounded very much like a man who intends to be pretty much the same player that he has always been, with the exception of the antics that he said landed him in this situation.

The passion that drove Green to become a four-time NBA All-Star? Still there. The drive that helped the Warriors win four NBA championships? Hasn’t diminished one bit.

“I still have to come back and play the game the way I know how to play the game and be the best me I can be to help give my team a chance to win,” Green told reporters at Chase Center in his first comments to the Bay Area media Tuesday.

Green spoke for nearly 35 minutes and addressed a variety of topics. He openly talked about the therapy he went through and said the responsibility is on his shoulders to put it all together and make it work.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver had mandated that Green take part in the counseling program as part of his potential return. It was, in many ways, exactly what the temperamental power forward needed and he went into it with an open mind.

“One of the best things that happened to me during the process as soon as I got on the phone (with the therapist), he was like ‘So what’s this about? I see all the things in the news," Green said. "I see everything everyone’s saying. How do you feel and what are you thinking? Because if you’re here just to satisfy some obligation or satisfy some public opinion you’re wasting my time and yours.' That was the most important thing for me that I could hear because that wasn’t why I was there. That was a very important part of me starting what has been the last four weeks or so for me.”

Part of the counseling wasn’t necessarily to change Green in some dramatic way. It was more about teaching him how to prepare and be aware when certain situations arise. Along with help from the Warriors and the NBA, Green believes he now has the tools to deal with issues that he’s struggled with in the past.

“I’m not going to sit here and tell you, ‘Yes, I know everything’ because you don’t know what you’ll do until you’re in a moment," Green said. "Going into anything you can only best prepare yourself for what moments you may face, and then you’ll be put to the test.

“It’s like anything else. If I catch the ball on the wing, in that moment I’ve prepared myself to shoot the ball. It’s no different. If you do the work, when those moments present themselves you lean on your preparation.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that having Green play with the same kind of passion and energy as he did previously is important and what Golden State needs.

“What makes Draymond great is his bravado, his emotions,” Kerr said. “I don’t expect Draymond to all of a sudden behave like Steph Curry or Tim Duncan. I want him to behave like himself. But there needs to be some humility in the wake of everything that’s happened that goes along with that bravado. We still need that bravado, we still need that emotion. We need the humility that comes when you know you’re wrong, when you’ve made serious mistakes when you’ve put your team at peril. That balance is the key to all of this, and Draymond knows that.”

During his suspension Green said he had plenty of time to reflect on himself, his actions and how it affected not only himself and the Warriors but many, many others around him. That includes his four children, whom Green spent a lot of time with while he was away from the team.

“It was wonderful waking up to them being home when they wake up and indulging in that process,” Green said. “You want to make sure they see the right thing. I also understand that they’ve been put in a position to have to deal with some things as well. If you let them see you (mess) up, then you have to let them see you make it right, You have to let them see your growth. You have to let them see you take ownership. You cant just ride and hide.”

Green said he didn’t touch a basketball more than a week after his suspension began, partly so he could focus on himself and not the Warriors and what was going on with them.

“I needed the time," Green said. "I needed to re-gather myself, to re-center myself, to re-calibrate, to take a step back. It’s hard to see things when you’re just in it. It’s hard to see what’s necessary to see.”

During his press conference, Green apologized to his teammates, the Warriors organization and others that he felt were affected by his antics.

“There’s a lot of people’s jobs riding on the success we have as players,” Green said. “For me to let all of those people down – obviously my teammates, that goes without saying – but it goes so far beyond that. There’s so many people’s livelihoods riding on that.

“Accepting what the league handed down was the easy part from a personal standpoint. But from a team standpoint, an organizational standpoint, I care about people. Just to know the people I’m screwing along the way, that part sucks. That feeling didn’t go away. That’s currently still here. The only way I make that right is to be better moving forward.”

Green thanked the Warriors organization for sticking behind him throughout all of the trouble he’s gotten himself into and said his primary goal moving forward is to be a better all-around person in general.

He hopes his story will be one that others can benefit from.

“There’s a responsibility that comes with the positions we’re in,” Green said. “I’ve always been one to say, ‘Ah, that’s your business.’ But the reality is there is a responsibility. To whom much is given much is required. I’ve never been a me guy but it’s not about me. So in a situation like this, can I help someone else grow? If I help one person grow, incredible. Great.. Because that leads us all to a better place.“

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