SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Draymond Green is vowing a commitment to playing without the “antics” that have plagued him on the court throughout his career, working over the past month on ways to control his emotions and not let hostility take over.
Oh, yes, he still plans to compete on the edge and isn’t promising he will be perfect during this process.
“Antics isn’t something that got me here, and so when I look back on these situations it’s like, ‘Can you remove the antics?’ I’m very confident I can remove the antics,” Green said, “and I’m very confident that if I do remove the antics, no one’s worried about how I play the game of basketball. Nobody’s worried about how I carry myself in the game of basketball but it’s the antics. So that’s my focus.”
Through therapy, Green said he has learned techniques to better deal with tense moments during games when he has previously lost his cool, embracing the idea of improving himself after being disciplined by the NBA with an indefinite suspension last month.
“As far as not crossing the line with a referee, yes, that’s a big point of emphasis for me, and knowing and understanding where that line is,” Green said, speaking for more than 35 minutes Tuesday following his first formal practice since being reinstated Saturday from a 12-game league suspension.
He added it’s about “developing a practice, developing a routine” — and the NBA, Warriors and others supported him in how that might look.
Still, Green insists he has “cost my team enough” and feels a sense of urgency to get back on the court and help the Warriors. He doesn’t have a return date: “Not yet but I’m pushing to make that as soon as possible.”
“Accepting what the league handed down was the easy part from a personal standpoint,” Green said.
He noted that a positive of the indefinite timeline was focusing on “being in a better space” without the stress of focusing on an immediate return to basketball. He even contemplated retirement and didn’t touch a ball for “the first 10 days because it was the least important thing to me.”
For now, Green will prepare for how he handles himself going forward.
“Going into anything, you can only best prepare yourself for what moments you may face and then you’ll be put to the test,” he said. “What is real is preparing yourself and doing a lot of self work so that when you are in these moments you know where you can turn to.”
Coach Steve Kerr said he has spoken to Green about finishing this special run with the Warriors on a positive note. They also discussed the idea of “no more buts,” such as giving an apology without explanation and then moving forward — a combination of humility with his bravado.
“Let’s do it the right way, let’s do it with dignity, let’s do it with competitive desire, let’s do it joyfully,” Kerr shared of his message.
“He’s obviously still a huge part of this thing.”
Green rejoined the Warriors on Sunday for a walk-through and then sat on the bench for a loss to Toronto. It wasn’t clear when he would return to game action — but Kerr said Green would need to do some scrimmaging to determine his status.
Green said he received applause from teammates as he reintegrated into a film session that was appreciated but not necessarily deserved.
He served his second suspension this season, this time for hitting Phoenix center Jusuf Nurkic in the face on Dec. 12.
The fiery Warriors forward also had previously served a five-game suspension in November for putting a chokehold on Minnesota big man Rudy Gobert.
“What makes Draymond great is his bravado, his emotions,” Kerr said. “I don’t expect Draymond to all of a sudden behave like Steph Curry or Tim Duncan. I want him to behave like himself. But there needs to be some humility in the wake of everything that’s happened that goes along with that bravado. We still need that bravado, we still need that emotion. We need the humility that comes when you know you’re wrong, when you’ve made serious mistakes, when you’ve put your team at peril. That balance is the key to all of this, and Draymond knows that.”
Last season during training camp, Green took a leave of absence from the 2022 NBA champions in what Kerr called a “mutual decision” after he violently punched then-teammate Jordan Poole in the face.
The league announced Saturday the end of Green’s indefinite suspension, saying he “demonstrated his commitment to conforming his conduct to standards expected of NBA players” during the penalty that began Dec. 14. Green has met with a counselor as well as having multiple joint meetings with representatives of the league, the Warriors and the National Basketball Players Association.
The 33-year-old Green, a key member of four Warriors championships, was ejected for the 18th time in his career — most among active NBA players — during that 119-116 loss at Phoenix.
Green noted he also wants his children to see him trying to be a better example and exhibiting growth from the mistakes he has made.
“If I can help one person grow, great,” Green said. “My goal is that a lot of people can learn from it. My goal most importantly is to grow. … I’ll probably mess up along the way and that’s all a part of growing.”
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