Why Draymond Green went into 'relax mode' this year, per Jim Barnett

Drew Shiller
NBC Sports BayArea

There definitely are people out there who believe Draymond Green's best basketball is behind him.

The 30-year-old forward -- who is about to start the four-year, $99.7 million contract extension he signed with the Warriors last summer -- has dealt with nagging injuries the last couple of seasons, and his detractors don't see his game aging well.

Is Warriors radio announcer, Jim Barnett, concerned about Draymond bouncing back after a down 2019-20 season?

"Physically, I think he's gonna be just fine," Barnett said Thursday on "Bonta, Steiny & Guru" on 95.7 The Game. "I think more of that was mental. At this level, it is so mental. You've got to be into the game, and Draymond saw what was happening this year. (Steph) Curry goes down after four games, (Klay) Thompson's not there.

"I hate saying this but he just couldn't muster it up anymore and he kind of lost his passion for the game -- to compete at the high level that he's capable of that we've seen in the past. He got punched in the stomach essentially."

Barnett is spot on.

Once Steph broke his hand against the Phoenix Suns on Oct. 30, everything changed for the Warriors. The expectations became non-existent, and the whole narrative of "Steph, Draymond and D'Angelo Russell can keep the Warriors in the playoff hunt until Klay comes back at some point in March" disappeared.

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After five straight trips to the NBA Finals in which Draymond appeared in 104 of a possible 105 playoff games, the three-time NBA champion needed an opportunity to let his body and mind get a break.

"He knows his limitations," Barnett added. "I think that he kind of just went back into relax mode and said, 'I'm just gonna rest and wait until next year.' He's got a high standard and it's frustrating (for him) when he can't play up to that standard because of the players that he's playing with.

"I think he's gonna be fine. And I'm not saying anything negative about Draymond. It just kind of took the life out of him and took the spirit out of the game this year."

The good news for the Warriors and their fans is that the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year is incredibly motivated to show everybody he still is one of the top-25 players in the NBA.

Draymond was an All-Star three straight seasons from 2016 to 2018, and wants to add a fourth selection to his resume after a two-year hiatus.

[RELATED: Draymond sends message to haters, puts pressure on self]

And don't worry -- he hears and sees all the chatter about how he's washed up, and won't ever be the same player again.

"To everybody out there who want to talk s--t about this year -- I don't really give a f--k," he said on the "All the Smoke" podcast in late April. "In my opinion, I got better. I got better as a player, I got better as a person and a leader ... and that's gonna make me even better for next year.

"So, I appreciate everybody talking. I kind of needed them to relight that fire under my a--."

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Why Draymond Green went into 'relax mode' this year, per Jim Barnett originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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