OAKLAND — Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green got up shots for the second day in a row during Monday morning’s shootaround, but will miss his second straight preseason game, against Phoenix at 7:30 p.m. on Monday night, with knee soreness.
After first experiencing some pain following a scrimmage, and then again following the Warriors’ Sept. 29 preseason loss to Minnesota, Green went eight days without practicing, and did not play in Friday’s preseason game against Sacramento in Seattle. He also didn’t participate in Golden State’s open practice this Sunday. Green, though, plans to play in Wednesday’s tilt in Las Vegas against the Los Angeles Lakers.
“That’s the plan,” Green said. “If it keeps moving in the right direction, like it has the last few days, that’s the plan.”
Green dealt with a shoulder injury all last season due to being undercut by JaVale McGee on a block attempt in November, and beyond that, had hip, knee and elbow injuries, not to mention emergency dental surgery. He only missed 12 games all season, and no more than three in a row. Not that this preseason game against the new Lebron James-led Lakers is special. Not yet.
For the first time in more than 20 years, both teams could be contenders at the same time.
This summer, Los Angeles acquired Golden State’s nemesis for the past four years in James, as well as Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and former Warrior JaVale McGee. Golden State has won two NBA titles in a row, and three of the last four.
Los Angeles hasn’t been over .500 since the 2012-13 season, when the Lakers finished seventh in the Western Conference with 45 wins, and the Warriors finished sixth with 47. Before that, Golden State had one playoff appearance in 18 seasons, while Los Angeles made the playoffs in 17 of those 18 years, winning five NBA titles.
“It’s kind of hard to talk about how both teams are good right now,” Green said, brushing off the assertion that the two could finally get down to having a competitive rivalry. “I don’t think anyone has proved that yet.”
The matchups this year between the two teams — Oct. 10 in Las Vegas, Oct. 12 in San Jose for the preseason; Dec. 25 and Feb. 2, in Oakland; and Jan. 21 and April 4 in Los Angeles — are, Green said, sure to be “star-studded,” but there’s little certainty beyond that, he cautioned.
“I think that’s great. Fantastic. I think we’ve both got to prove we’re good, though,” Green said. “We haven’t proved we’re good this year. They haven’t proved they’re good, either.”
The Lakers, as currently constituted, have not played together for any length of time, and the Warriors, once the NBA’s third-oldest team at 28.8 years of age, are now the 10th oldest, at 26.6.
That youth, though, has sparked head coach Steve Kerr, who has said that this training camp is the most exciting he’s had since he took over. For Green, too, the newness is invigorating.
“There was nothing to push that group to try to be great during the regular season,” Green said of the 2017-18 team. “Everything was just to try to be great come April, May and June. I think this year, we’ve got something to work on. We’ve got a lot of young guys, so that, for the time being, we’re dealing with. Then, we’ve got Demarcus coming in, and making that work. JB [Jordan Bell], Damian [Jones], Loon (Kevon Looney), they’ll play a bigger role, making that work. I think we’ve just got more to work on than we did last year.
“This training camp has been a lot of fun. A lot of energy. Our young guys have brought so much energy and life to the camp that everybody is just kind of bouncing off the walls. It’s been really good.”