- No matter what happened Monday night between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green, the Warriors will be fine when, and where, it matters.
After a surprisingly drama-filled start to the week, the Warriors put to rest some level of concern with a workmanlike, 110–103 win over the Hawks on Tuesday. The win came without Stephen Curry—who’s nursing an injury—and Draymond Green, who was suspended for one game after reportedly calling Kevin Durant a “b----” in a heated argument during and after a loss to the Clippers on Monday. The victory over Atlanta wasn’t pretty, and it doesn’t signify some larger healing moment. It did, however, serve as a small reminder that the Warriors, uh, have really good players, even when two of their best are sitting out. Sure, it helps that the Hawks are tanking, but on the court, Golden State should move on from the Green-Durant feud rather quickly.
Draymond’s Monday outburst was made-for-Twitter fun. What did he say? Did he really bring up KD’s impending free agency? The subsequent conspiracy theories were juicy enough to send Kyrie Irving down another YouTube rabbit hole. Did Golden State suspend Draymond as a Durant recruiting strategy? Is Green’s future with the team clouded? Some of these questions are more important than others. I’m not sure it really matters that Green and Durant started going at it. Green helped bring KD to Oakland in the first place, and his, let’s call it intensity, is well-documented. Durant gets a rep as being sensitive, but I’m willing to bet he understands where Green was coming from as a competitor.
The long-term considerations, however, are...interesting. It‘s not inconceivable to think the Warriors—if they feel forced to choose because of their impending tax bill—are angling to keep Durant than Green moving forward. Those big-picture questions will always be looming for Golden State, which surely wants to keep its dynasty rolling in its new arena. There are ways to read into the argument, particularly about the push and pull between the Dubs’ style of play and Durant’s, and how Durant fits into Steve Kerr’s team concept. Ultimately, I think the Warriors know what they’re getting in Draymond. His attitude and his internal clashes are part of the package. It would be shocking to me if the argument with Durant was some kind of tipping point on Green specifically. Part of me feels like maybe even Green (allegedly) said what was on the mind of many within the organization. The Green-Durant feud escalated because of what was probably some long-gestating tension between a few entities in the organization. Everyone’s short quotes after the game were mildly concerning, but doesn’t one long winning streak fix put this all to bed?
This is all conjecture, of course. What matters is this: Golden State is in a class of its own in the NBA, and that’s before playing Boogie Cousins a single minute. The Warriors are going to be great on the court practically no matter what. If Dray and KD are binge-watching their favorite shows together on the team plane or not uttering a word to each other off the court, the Dubs are still going to be juggernauts. So why worry about an incident that most of us will probably forget by the time the Finals come around?
Sure, Green calling out Durant isn’t ideal. But after the Warriors loafed and moaned through their last regular season, it’s actually refreshing to see them care. The (perhaps a bit charitable) silver lining behind all of this is that Green and Durant were invested enough about in a Monday night game in November to go at each other in the first place. That’s a far departure from the team one year ago that often looked like it only tried hard for one quarter a night.
This too, shall pass. It was only a little over two weeks ago when Klay Thompson was setting three-point records and people were wondering if Golden State would make another run at 70 wins. The Warriors, as long as they start four Hall of Famers, will always be closer to that version of themselves than a dysfunctional group. Whatever decisions have to be made in the upcoming summers almost assuredly won’t be based on a single moment, at least for the parties most interested in winning.