As much as anyone in the NBA, Warriors big man Draymond Green has never been particularly shy about speaking up and not particularly caring if he offends anyone. That was evident on Monday night in Los Angeles, when Green simultaneously gave rookie James Wiseman a lesson, while trash-talking Lakers center Marc Gasol.
The chatter was captured on the TNT broadcast which, wisely, had decided to mic up Green. After a foul, Green grabbed rookie center James Wiseman and admonished him for not looking for the ball while he was guarded by Gasol. Green made clear that he thinks Wiseman vs. Gasol is an advantage for the Warriors.
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Draymond Green coaching James Wiseman while insulting Marc Gasol right in front of Marc Gasol is exactly why you get a mic on Draymond Green.pic.twitter.com/uPSPXgL9OY
— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) January 19, 2021
“I told you,” Green said to Wiseman, “if you’re open anywhere on the floor, I’m gonna get you. You can catch that ball right there and make a play.”
When Wiseman told Green he did not see the ball, Green said, “But you didn’t see it, that’s my point. Always see the ball. ’Cause I got you in open space against Marc Gasol—I like that. You see me? Come on!”
Of course, as Green said this to Wiseman, implying that the 19-year-old No. 2 pick in last year’s draft could beat Gasol, we see that Gasol was standing right next to the two Warriors, clearly within earshot. As if to drive home the point with Gasol, Green lined up to rebound the free throw on the opposite side of Wiseman and shouted, more for Gasol than Wiseman, “I like that!”
Marc Gasol’s Number Down With Lakers, But Impact is Up
Despite the gab from Green, neither Wiseman nor Gasol had much impact on the game as the two teams went small for long stretches. Wiseman struggled badly, committing five fouls and five turnovers in just 12:51 of play. Gasol played 16:15 and had just five points and one rebounds with two turnovers.
It is little surprise that Green and the Warriors wanted to go at Gasol, who is in his 13th NBA season (he came over to the league from Spain when he was 24) and will turn 36 at the end of the month.
Marc Gasol: Seems like an extremely nice guy, awesome passer, also, one hell of a brick wall.
Watch how Christian Wood and James Harden bounce right off him like flubber. Also, the choreographed travel call by 3 (!) Lakers! Waiting for league tracking data to start tallying that pic.twitter.com/U3Ug1G2e5c
— Alex Regla (@AlexmRegla) January 12, 2021
Gasol, signed as a free agent from Toronto, has started all 15 games for the Lakers at center, but he has not been particularly productive, averaging 4.5 points and 4.7 rebounds in 19.5 minutes per game. Those all represent career lows.
Defensively, Gasol still provides a burly presence in the lane, as he did when he anchored the NBA’s best defense while playing in Memphis, where he won the 2012-13 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. But age and injuries have slowed him and against athletic young big men, Gasol struggles.
Even without big individual stats, though, Gasol has been effective. The Lakers offense averages 120.9 points per possession while Gasol is on the floor, according to NBA.com stats, and the defense allows just 103.5 points per 100 possessions. That is a net rating of 17.4, which ranks third among Lakers regulars.
Anthony Davis on Marc Gasol: ‘He Makes us a Better Defensive Team’
Power forward Anthony Davis explained this week that even with Gasol’s advanced age and slowing footspeed, he has still made an impact on the Lakers’ defense, which ranks No. 1 in the NBA.
Here’s what Davis had to say:
He’s huge. A former DPOY. He’s able to protect the rim for us, we have his back when he’s switched out on smaller defenders. He does a good job of talking out coverages. He talks to me all the time on the bench about defensive schemes and what he sees on the floor, so his mindset and his mentality on the defensive end is huge for us. It only makes us a better defensive team, and the more and more that we lean on him on the defensive end to be that anchor, it’s only going to help us.