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If you think Golden State Warriors big man Draymond Green has been on his best behavior lately, thank his mother and fiancée. In the spring, both women sat Green down and told him he needed to “chill out” during games, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
They weren’t the only people who told Green to get his act together, but they may have made the biggest impact. Dwayne Stephens, one of Green’s coaches at Michigan State, told Shelburne the talk with his mother, Mary Babers-Green, and fiancée, Hazel Renee, made a huge difference on Green.
"They kind of sat him down like, 'Listen, you gotta chill out,'" Stephens says. "He was watching his son [Draymond Jr.] shoot on the hoop and he's flopping and he's like, 'Oh man. Is that what I look like? I had no idea how much energy I was wasting arguing calls and doing all of that crazy stuff.'
"Now he's just playing. He's not complaining and arguing as much. He's being a leader and a voice for his team and watching defensively, knowing what the other team's going to run, calling yourself out, telling people where to go. You see him do that stuff now, this kind of reeling himself back in.
"That talk he had with his mom and fiancée really got him refocused."
On top of that, Warriors general manager Bob Myers told Green he needed to get in better shape for the stretch run. Green acknowledged he was out of shape, and started to eat better around March. Green has reportedly dropped 25 pounds.
The 29-year-old Green had been at the center of a couple Warriors controversies during his career. A fight with Kevin Durant last fall resulted in Green receiving a one-game suspension from the Warriors. Green and coach Steve Kerr have also gone at it on occasion. During a loss to the Phoenix Suns in March, Kerr appeared to say “I’m so f------ tired of Draymond’s s---.”
A more focused Draymond is helping the Warriors in the postseason again. He’s put up six straight double-doubles, and has a triple-double in three of his past four games. He even declined to get into it with Drake on the sideline during Game 2 of the Finals.
The bigger question might be whether that will carry over for the rest of the series. If the Warriors trail in a tight game, or go down in the Finals, it might not take much for Green to go back to his old ways.
Given how well Green has played lately, the Warriors hope this version sticks around for the long run.
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