Draymond Green isn’t buying into the idea of the Golden State Warriors as a scrappy playoff underdog.
Though teammate Steph Curry seemed to embrace the idea of the Warriors coming into the bottom end of the playoff bracket and making some noise, Green said he’s not content with recreating the underdog Golden State teams of the past decade that came just before the team’s five-year NBA Finals run.
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Green Sounds off on Warriors Playoff Hopes
With the Warriors sealing their place in the NBA’s new four-team play-in tournament, the team is facing the prospect of having to win their way into the main playoff bracket. If the Warriors — currently a half game above the ninth-place Memphis Grizzlies — can stay in eighth or seventh place, they would have a chance to go into the playoffs as the No. 7 seed with a win in the opening game. If they fall to ninth or tenth, they would need to win two straight games to go in as the No. 8 seed.
This season has seen the Warriors bounce back from the Western Conference basement, where they languished last season with the absence of Curry and fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson. With Thompson out again this season, the Warriors have fought to stay at the edges of playoff contention. Despite the unusual place for the team that once dominated the conference, Green said he doesn’t see the Warriors as underdogs.
Green recalled the Warriors teams of the early 2010s that made noise in the playoffs as the underdog, but said there’s a very important distinction this season — the MVP-caliber play of Curry.
“No disrespect to them at all because what they did is incredible, but we’re not no ‘We Believe 2.0.’ We’ve got f****** Steph Curry on our team,” Green said, via ESPN.
But Green added that there could be an advantage to coming into the playoffs at the bottom half of the bracket, with the Warriors the one putting the target on other teams rather than wearing one.
“For a second there we were the hunters, then we turned into the hunted for five, six years. And now, we’re hunting again,” Green said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “That’s always a fun position to be in when you’re hunting going after everyone else. Obviously, we have experience with both but I love hunting. It’s fun.”
Curry Welcomes the Challenge
While Green is reluctant to embrace the idea of the Warriors as the underdog, Curry seems to relish the opportunity to recreate the Golden State teams of the last decade. The league’s leading scorer looks back fondly on the days that would eventually lead to the team’s five-year run to the NBA Finals, when the Warriors were a team on the rise.
“We might have to channel some 2013, ’14 kind of vibes,” Curry said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “We were just coming on the scene as the new, up-and-coming playoff-type team. I know we’ve been there. I can kind of remember what it’s like when nobody’s probably gonna pick you in the series and whatnot — we gotta get there first. We’re not too far removed from that to not remember what it feels like and just come out swinging.”