The Golden State Warriors should have entered the 2022-23 NBA season with a lot of momentum.
Being the defending champs generally affords a certain degree of comfortability that other teams lack in the early going.
Unfortunately, an ugly confrontation between stars Draymond Green and Jordan Poole last week derailed that. Complicating matters further is the fact that the encounter has led to a very serious problem brewing within the Warriors’ locker room.
A lack of trust in Green as a leader.
On Sunday night, Kevon Looney addressed the elephant in the room.
Kevon Looney on Draymond Green: “He’s got some work to do to get that trust back from us, but I think he’s willing to do it.” pic.twitter.com/2NWeDmkdxl
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 10, 2022
“He’s got some work to do to get that trust back from us, but I think he’s willing to do it,” Looney said.
This isn’t the first time the topic of “trust” has been mentioned.
“Green, a future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest Warriors players who ever lived, has lost the trust and respect of his teammates and must now begin the process of earning it back,” Sam Amick of The Athletic reported late last week.
Part of the issue is just how brutal the video was.
“On Friday morning, many watched the video and saw what happened for the first time, along with the rest of us,” Marcus Thompson III of The Athletic wrote.
“Multiple sources said their view of the situation is altered. Seeing Green walking up on Poole with obvious bad intentions. Seeing him respond to a baited shove from Poole with a ready swing. Seeing how much venom was behind the punch. That wasn’t the Draymond they knew.
“That was different than a chin-checking jab they presumed, the kind of measured punch you’d give your little brother. Green’s actions weren’t justified by any words Poole uttered or the momentum of intensity. Sources on the team keep stressing that. What Green did was an intrusion on the vibe.”
The Warriors as an organization find themselves in tricky waters right now. How they proceed will ultimately determine whether they can successfully defend their title in 2022-23.
Green has always been a character, albeit generally not with guys who are bigger than him. But he crossed a line. And dealing with that will take a lot of time.
Time that Golden State may not have with the regular season rapidly approaching.
The verbal exchange that Green and Poole had prior to things popping off also doesn’t help. It speaks a larger issue brewing between Poole and some of his veteran teammates – a point that head coach Steve Kerr inadvertently confirmed just before Green’s punch occurred.
Stephen Curry’s position on things helps, but it doesn’t solve everything.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Dolphins today. https://t.co/Ru8zP3GhUe
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 9, 2022
Repeating is always tough in the NBA. But the Warriors just made it ten times harder on themselves than they needed to.
Will they be able to overcome their new, self-imposed obstacles and triumph in a way that nobody is expecting this coming season?
Time will tell.