Six months and one ring later, Draymond Green is still a bit sore over getting benched in the NBA Finals.
The Golden State Warriors‘ big man was sent to the bench late in Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals, with head coach Steve Kerr later saying that he needed to trust his instinct in a tight game against the Boston Celtics and give Green a break. Though Green was eventually subbed back in and made some key contributions in the win, he aired some criticism this week of his coach and a decision that he found “disrespectful.”
Green Airs Grievances
The Warriors veteran opened up about his difficult stretch in the NBA Finals. Appearing in an episode of Uninterrupted’s “Throwing Bones” on December 16, Green said he disagreed with Kerr’s decision to pull him from the rotation and play offense/defense.
Green had been struggling on offense through the first three games of the NBA Finals, scoring just two points on 1-of-4 shooting with two turnovers in a Game 3 loss before fouling out.
“I even got benched in Game 4,” Green said. “I got offense/defense subbed — by the way, I felt like that was disrespectful as f–k.”
While Green disagreed with Kerr’s decision, he said he didn’t take it personally.
“But, it’s cool. Like, I didn’t take it personal because the only thing that was important to me was to win a championship.”
Green was a big part of the Warriors winning a fourth title in the last eight seasons, responding immediately after Kerr’s decision to bench him for key stretches. When he was subbed back in the game, Green found teammate Steph Curry for a three-pointer that gave the Warriors a six-point lead with under two minutes remaining. On the next possession, he grabbed an offensive rebound to keep the possession alive and then assisted on teammate Kevon Looney’s layup to ice the game.
Kerr later defended his decision to bench Green down the stretch. Appearing on Andre Iguodala’s “Point Forward” podcast shortly after the team’s victory parade, Kerr said it was really about sticking with a combination that was working.
“In the NBA if you find a group that works, then you stick with it and it doesn’t matter who is on the floor,” Kerr said. “You can’t worry about anybody’s feelings being hurt or anything like that … Sure enough, when the run ended and we went back to him, he was great and made huge plays down the stretch and it all worked out.”
Green Grateful for Curry
Green admitted that he was “rattled” after a poor showing in Game 3 and some intense heckling from the Boston crowd. Green said Game 4 was off to a poor start, but he was saved through the heroics of Curry and his 43-point outburst.
“So going into Game 4, down 2-1, I’m just like, I need to come in here and stabilize myself,” Green said. “Shoutout to the GOAT Steph Curry, because in Game 4 I still wasn’t myself, but I rallied enough to be better. And then he carried me. And I feel like his performance … was all so I didn’t get murdered. We were losing that game, we were losing Game 4, and he did not let us lose. And if we would have lost, I would have gotten murdered.”