Draymond Green has played on the biggest stages. The Warriors made the NBA Finals every year from 2015-2019, winning three championships. His effort shined in those high-profile games.
Green has also played on a team that immediately fell to the basement. Last season, Golden State started 5-24 and finished last. Green appeared checked out throughout the year.
Now, the Warriors fall in between.
They’re 23-25 and ninth in the Western Conference. Teams that finish seventh through 10th will make the new play-in tournament. Golden State is 6.5 games out of sixth and up just half a game on the 10th-place Grizzlies, one game on the 11th-place Kings and 1.5 games on the 12th-place Pelicans.
I hate f***ing losing. So, when I step on the floor, I want to win.
But I’ll be 100 percent honest with you: Fighting for a play-in spot does not motivate me.
Fighting for a playoff spot doesn’t motivate me at all. I don’t go into these games thinking at all like, “Hey, we’re right on the fringe. We need to win these games for this play-in spot.” No. I want to win every game I play in because I hate losing. That s*** really bothers me. So, that’s what motivates me – not fighting for some play-in spot. I don’t really give a d*** about the play-in spots to be honest with you.
I just want to win every time I step on the floor. So, that’s what motivates me. I step on the court, and I’m going to give 110 percent, whether it’s in the play-in game or not.
But no play-in game is going to motivate me at this point of my career. That’s just kind of what it is. Playoff basketball is definitely motivating.
But play-in games don’t motivate me. That won’t change today, tomorrow, in a month or two months or two years from now.
I want to win. That’s enough motivation for me. But I’m not going to spend every minute like, “Man, we’re right on the cusp of that play-in.” I don’t give a d*** about that play-in game. If that’s where we are and we’re in the game, yeah, I’m going to do all I can to win the game. But the play-in situation isn’t going to get me out of my bed like “I’ve got to bust my a** today because we’re fighting for the play-in spot.” Agnh. That ain’t going to push me.
There’s a fine line between Green not caring about the play-in because every game deserves maximum attention regardless and Green feeling the play-in is beneath him.
It’s unclear precisely where Green falls.
He said plenty of variations of “I just want to win every time I step on the floor” and “I’m going to give 110 percent, whether it’s in the play-in game or not. ”
But “No play-in game is going to motivate me at this point of my career” and “No play-in game is going to motivate me at this point of my career. … Playoff basketball is definitely motivating” sound like someone who views this situation as beneath him.
I believe Green truly wants to play his hardest in every game. But that’s extremely difficult to do. Players often need particular reason to summon maximum effort. Just going on the court and deciding to play hard isn’t necessarily enough. Motivation matters.
Green doesn’t sound like he’s finding that external motivation. And that’s natural. After all his success, this situation must feel like letdown. He can fall back on his core competitiveness, that every game is worth winning. But that goes only so far – even if Green wants it to be enough.
It sounds as if Green is trying to figure out exactly how he feels by talking it out during a press conference. I appreciate that openness.