OAKLAND — Draymond Green pulled up for a corner three, hit the shot, and as he ran down the court, he stared at the Golden State Warriors’ bench and let out a shout.
The brief scene unfolded on Nov. 9 — a night when the Warriors dismantled an undermanned Dallas Mavericks team 116-95 and Green took on a rare leading role in the offense, going 4-for-6 from downtown.
As Green glided past the bench, it was unclear who he was shouting at. It could have been a player, a member of the staff, no one in particular, or — as has been the case in the past — his head coach, Steve Kerr.
“I understand his fire. He understands my fire,” Green said during his weekly show on 95.7 The Game.
While adjectives like “diplomatic” or “composed” often precede Steve Kerr’s name, Green sees a reflection of himself in his boss.
“We both understand each other. We’re both fiery in our own way — mine’s a little more outward than his,” Green said. “But you can always see when he gets going, he’s extremely fiery.”
That fire showed during Game 1 of the 2016 NBA Finals when Kerr destroyed his clipboard during a timeout. Or earlier this season when the Dubs were playing the Oklahoma City Thunder and the coach chased down an official after a foul on Stephen Curry went uncalled.
Green pointed to a legendary moment from Kerr’s days as a player to draw out the parallel.
“He’s a guy, who — it’s famous — got into a fight with Michael Jordan,” Green said, referring to the incident that took place during the Bulls training camp in 1995 when Kerr stood up to six-time NBA champion and notorious trash talker.
“It’s like, he wasn’t the star of the team. I’m not the star of the team,” Green said. “But yet we do what we have to do to put our imprint on a team. And I think we understand that side of each other and we understand everything about each other.”
It was in the run-up to this season’s training camp that Kerr challenged Green to rein in his, at times, excessive emotions. In the opening weeks of the schedule, Green has obliged.
“He’s just been really mature and he’s been a great leader,” Kerr told KNBR. “And I just think he’s found a nice kind of groove and a nice balance to keeping that edge but growing and just being a little wiser from day to day. I’m really proud of him for it, he’s been brilliant.”
The new Green, who has already announced his campaign to become the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, has been a force for the Warriors. He leads the team in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.
With Kevin Durant, Curry and Klay Thompson spearheading the offense, Green has willingly deferred to the trio of shooters while doubling down on his roles as the team’s chief facilitator and defensive anchor.
“He can adjust to any situation and he’s fine with being able to want to excel in different areas and not just scoring,” said guard Ian Clark. “It says a lot about him and the type of player he is.”
Durant, who is peppered with questions about the adjustment process to his new team every time he steps in front of a microphone, offered a telling comment, which underscores the ease of sharing the floor with Green.
“We’re still learning each other,” Durant said. “But for the most part, I kind of know how Steph wants to play, how Klay wants to play and vice versa.”
There was no mention of Green — the other member of the Big Four — because there’s no adjustment required. Green regularly pops up in the perfect place with a key deflection of an inbounds pass, a timely block, or sometimes, one of those corner threes.NBA