OAKLAND — Draymond Green has effectively picked up where he left off in last year's playoffs — and then some — through the Warriors' first 18 games. He's doing all the little things that help teams win, and occasionally mixing in an eye-catching moment like the big 3-point basket he drained down the stretch in Sacramento on Sunday night, or the even more important tip-in he made with 28 seconds left that helped Golden State eke out a 115-113 victory.
What's more, aside from being coach Mark Jackson's “glue guy” for a bench cast still finding its way, Green is also stepping back into his familiar role as a game-finisher with the starters. It's a high honor for which the second-year forward is thankful whenever he gets the nod.
“I've never worried in my entire life about starting a game,” Green said Monday. “You want to be out there to finish the game, and I relish that opportunity. Anytime I'm in that situation, I just try to give all I can give.”
In Green's case, it's more than just energy and hustle. His smarts and versatility have Jackson calling on him with the game on the line. The coach doesn't know how it will manifest itself, only that Green has the intangibles — and fearlessness — for the role.
“One thing that's underrated with him is his ability to go get the basketball,” Jackson said. “Down the stretch, you have to have guys on the floor with that mentality. Good things happen more times than not.”
Green doesn't know where that quality comes from but is glad it's part of his basketball makeup.
“We're all blessed with certain things, so I guess it's just a knack,” he said. “I thrive on those situations, to be able to make that play. But it's not all about scoring. That's the play that everybody will notice, but it's not all about that. It's about setting screens, getting Steph (Curry) open, helping on defense, locking a man down on defense, coming up with a rebound, coming up with a loose ball, interrupting (opponents') offense.