Skip to main content

Draymond Green's lesson from the botched 73-win season - “Don't gun for the first seed”

How time and experience changed Draymond's perspective on chasing 73 wins
Klay Thompson and Draymond Green

Klay Thompson and Draymond Green

Midway into the regular season, veteran playoff teams are pacing themselves for the playoffs. Among all the teams gunning for a title, the Golden State Warriors are perhaps the most experienced. Not just because of their wins, but mainly because of their losses — particularly the 2016 NBA Finals, where they botched their historic 73-win season.

All you need is one win on the road

Six years after their heartbreaking loss, star forward Draymond Green is approaching the postseason with caution. The Dubs have reached the pinnacle of regular-season success in 2016, and he knows how futile a team's win-loss record is if they can't bring the title home. So this time around, Green is more strategic in his mindset. In his mind, homecourt advantage doesn't mean much in the postseason.

"The goal is to go win one on the road anyway. Whether you're trying to close out in four, closeout in five or closeout in six or seven. The goal is to always go win one on the road. If we're the two seed, you just gotta go win one on the road anyway. After going through it so many times, you understand -- to exhaust yourself for the one seed -- yeah, you get an extra game at home in the series or a closeout game at home. But I've won Game 7s on the road and lost Game 7s at home, so it don't really matter. If you can get it, great, but I don't feel like and I don't feel like anyone in this organization feels like it's worth it to exhaust yourself trying to chase after it."

"If you're healthy, then you're always trying to win every game you can win. But if you're not healthy then there's no use for rolling guys out there and risking more injury or if some guy's a little beat up then risking that possibly getting worse. It's not worth it," 

Draymond Green, NBC Sports.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Green was most likely talking about the 2019 NBA Finals — their latest finals trip. To recall, injuries to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson derailed their chances at a three-peat. Those injuries were almost expected in hindsight, given the Warriors' long grind leading to that point.

73-win meltdown

Draymond didn't mention their 2016 NBA Finals meltdown against the Cleveland Cavaliers. But it would be foolish not to infer that he was referring to that series — the set of seven games that gave him the greatest insights about playoff ball. As for one, the Warriors had all the advantages entering that series. Stephen Curry had just drained a record 402 3-pointers and single-handedly changed the game. Their 73-win regular season proved they knew how to win.

Perhaps this is why they lost. As cliche as it sounds, it would've greatly benefitted the Warriors if they lost more games in the regular season. That's because for every after loss, they would be forced to go back to the drawing board and evaluate their performance. Instead, those nine losses reminded them that they were invincible.

Case in point: after Kyrie Irving's dagger 3-pointer, the Warriors were down by three points with 53.0 seconds left. The safe way to go about it would be to quickly score two points, put on their best defensive stance, and get another crack at it in the next offensive possession.

But as we saw, the Warriors — particularly Curry — drained around 13 seconds off the clock trying to shake off Kevin Love for a crack at a game-tying 3-pointer. This was the only option for the Warriors — who, entering that Game 7 — were so used to Curry draining crazy shot after crazy shot. And so when Steph missed, the Warriors literally didn't know what to do. They were not used to having their backs against the wall. And that's why they lost. 

Kyrie Irving on why he didn't get a new contract this offseason - I gave up four years, 100-something million to be unvaccinated”

Kyrie Irving on why he didn't get a new contract this offseason - I gave up four years, 100-something million to be unvaccinated”

Irving said that his decision to remain unvaccinated from COVID-19, which prevented him from playing for the Brooklyn Nets, cost him a new contract this offseason

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic

“I don’t want to disappoint him" - Nikola Jokic credits the person behind his life-changing weight loss

Nikola Jokic has entrusted his career and life to the Nuggets' strength and conditioning coach. And he didn't make a mistake.

Indiana Pacers guard Reggie Miller

“I knew immediately” — Reggie Miller on scoring 8 points in 8.9 seconds against the New York Knicks

Reggie Miller gave Knicks forward Anthony Mason some props for delivering the best chest pass he's ever seen.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green

“I don't think it will happen” — Draymond Green on getting a contract extension with the Golden State Warriors

Draymond said he won't let his contract situation get in the way of defending the title. Let's see if he feels the same way when Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins get an extension.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant

“He was crying, bro” — Chauncey Billups revealed why Kobe Bryant was crying after making it to the 2009 NBA Finals

Kobe Bryant was so determined to win a championship without Shaquille O'Neal to the point that his emotions oftentimes consumed him.

Los Angeles Dodgers partner Magic Johnson and wife Cookie Johnson

“I bribed her. I gave her a million dollars” — Cookie Johnson's condition to allow Magic Johnson to return in 1995

The money was just a cherry on the top. Cookie gave Magic a clear ultimatum, or else she would've divorced him.

Shaquille O'Neal and Vince Carter

“I felt like it was close“ — Vince Carter revealed that he was close to teaming up with Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal's unwillingness to play in Canada was a harsh truth pill to swallow for Vince Carter, whose career would've probably been different if he had teamed up with O'Neal.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

“I appreciate the compliment. It's not going to soften me at all.” — Steph Curry brushes off Giannis Antetokounmpo calling him the “best player in the world”

Compliment or not, Steph Curry says he’s not going to let Giannis Antetokounmpo get into his head with some gamesmanship.