The Importance of Draymond Green in the Golden State Warriors’ Quest for Another NBA Championship

The Golden State Warriors aren’t only entering the playoffs playing by far their best basketball of the season. As the defending champions gear up for another title run, their veteran core is also poised to be as healthy and rested as possible—all Draymond Green needs to give him full confidence the Dubs will come out of the Western Conference.

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Asked who he believes should be favorites in the West as the postseason finally dawns, a light-hearted yet defiant Green initially insisted that distinction should belong to the Warriors.

“Is Steph Curry healthy? Klay Thompson? I can tell you personally, I’m pretty healthy. Looney’s healthy, Jordan Poole’s healthy,” he told Marc Stein and Chris Haynes on the latest episode of #thisleague UNCUT. “I think the Warriors should be the favorite,”In all seriousness, I don’t think there’s any clear cut favorite in the Western Conference. We love our chances if we’re healthy.”

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Green went onto to playfully chide the veteran reporters for not heeding his advice to pick Golden State as champions before last year’s playoffs.

But the Warriors were the three seed in the West back then, coming off a regular season that re-cemented them as top-line contenders for the Larry O’Brien Trophy despite Green, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson all missing significant chunks of the 82-game grind. They’re in a much different spot a year later, only barely avoiding the play-in tournament by winning eight of their last 10 games and sporting the worst road record ever for a reigning champion.

That reality isn’t long on the notoriously confident Green, nor is the notion the Western Conference is as “wide open” as it’s ever been in the modern era.

“In all seriousness, I don’t think there’s any clear cut favorite in the Western Conference. We love our chances if we’re healthy,” he clarified. “It’s a lot that can happen. I never really take this stand on anything, but if I’m being honest with you, I think it’s wide open. As wide open as we’ve ever seen it before.”

The play-in tournament tips off on Tuesday night, with the first round of the playoffs—including Game 1 of Golden State’s Northern California clash with the Sacramento Kings—beginning Saturday. Buckle up.

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