Draymond Green has earned his flowers

BOSTON — Over four years ago, I had a conversation with Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green on why our society is notorious for flower-giving when it’s too late.

When Green speaks, he’s loud and passionate, and this chat was no different. We spoke for about 20 minutes on why it’s so difficult for individuals to express love and admiration to others in the present.

In the discussion, we attempted to come up with a few reasons as to why society is largely this way. In thinking of contributing factors, Green pivoted, saying, “It doesn’t matter. We gotta do our part to change it.”

He then went quiet for about 10 seconds before surprising me with a curveball.

“I want you to put this out there,” Green said. “Jaylen Brown should be an All-Star this year.”

The Boston Celtics shooting guard hadn’t made an All-Star team at that point. His first and only appearance didn’t come until 2021.

Green explained he had grown to admire Brown’s game and always privately thought that he was deserving of All-Star recognition: “He deserves his flowers now.”

So I tweeted it, and Brown’s All-Star candidacy became a topic of conversation among blogs and television networks.

That was one example of Green using his voice and stature to present flowers to an individual he has been assigned to defend four years later in these NBA Finals.

Lately, the way he’s utilizing his voice is being deemed as a negative.

He has made four All-Star teams, he is a two-time All-NBA recipient, a seven-time All-Defensive Team performer, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, the 2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year as an undersized power forward and a three-time NBA champion. But the way Green has been discussed over the past week might convince casual hoops enthusiasts that the forward is merely the equivalent of a 12th man.

Many have always had a problem with how much Green talks. Whether he’s chirping at opponents, officials, media or fans, what’s usually opined is that he lacks the offensive arsenal to back up his mouth, leaving Stephen Curry as the source to produce on his behalf.

Of the numerous accolades Green has accumulated — which will put him in consideration for the Hall of Fame once his career concludes — none of those awards was won on the merit of putting the ball in the basket.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, left, celebrates with forward Draymond Green during Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals at TD Garden in Boston on June 10, 2022. (Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports)
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, left, celebrates with forward Draymond Green during Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals at TD Garden in Boston on Friday. (Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports)

And while Green having more fouls (18) than points (17) in the Finals isn’t favorable for the Warriors, the stat is low-hanging fruit and doesn’t tell the full story of Green’s value to the club.

Green’s offensive struggles and reluctance to shoot has prompted outrageous suggestions that he has been riding the championship coattails of Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant.

The truth: Excluding Durant’s tenure, the Warriors are not a championship squad without Green anchoring the defense and being the undisputed heart of the team. And Green typically sets the table offensively, pushing the ball up court and setting up Curry, Thompson and others for open looks.

Green is a professional trash talker who is a defensive star. In football it’s not a problem, but it’s not common in the hoops world to be a professional trash talker and starring only on the defensive side.

And then there’s his “controversial” podcast.

Face it, “y’all going to get this podcast.” The episodes of “The Draymond Green Show” run 30-40 minutes in length. It’s not time-consuming. It’s not affecting the time he puts into his game preparation. If he wasn’t podcasting for 40 minutes, he’d probably be watching a movie.

The only difference with the pod is that fans actually know what he’s doing for 40 minutes and the illusion of your favorite players working out 18 hours a day is out the window.

Does Green have to play better and at times be an offensive threat to take pressure off of Curry and company?

Absolutely, and he has agreed with that sentiment.

With the way Green trash talks and how it infuriates many, he’s an easy target. But Green shouldn’t be slandered for not doing something he has never done consistently throughout his career: score.

He’s one of the best perimeter and interior defenders in the league and is highly regarded as one of the greatest basketball minds. He is off his game a bit, and for that, the criticism should be directed appropriately and reasonably.

It is time for Green to step up with the series tied 2-2, but make no mistake about it, he has earned his flowers.

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