Draymond Green: Criticism of Warriors' defense 'pushes me more than anything'

ByChris Haynes ESPN logo
Tuesday, November 29, 2016

OAKLAND, Calif. -- After the Golden State Warriors held the Atlanta Hawks to 42 percent shooting in a 105-100 win Monday night, Draymond Green used his postgame media availability to inform the critics that they upset him.

When the organization shipped center Andrew Bogut to the Dallas Mavericks to clear up cap space for the arrival of Kevin Durant in the offseason, Green heard banter he didn't like.

"The world says we traded our defense away when we got KD," Green said after blocking a game-high four shots. "I disagree. So, I think our defense actually has the upside to be better with the length and everything that we have, the speed, the athleticism. That pissed me off more than anything, that it's kind of like, 'Yeah, their defense is going to suck now.' I take that personally. So that pushes me more than anything else."

Before Monday's game, the Warriors were holding opponents to 43 percent shooting, tied for the fourth-best mark in the league. And their defensive efficiency was 101.9, the seventh-highest spot.

Green (1.6 blocks per game) and Durant (1.6 BPG) are in the NBA's top 15. As a team, the Warriors rank second with 6.4 blocks per contest. Golden State swatted away 10 shots Monday.

Bogut, when healthy, is one of the game's best shot-blockers, but the Warriors are continuing their protection at the rim by committee.

"Just the doubt from everyone on that end of the floor," Green went on about the critics. "Like if somebody says, 'Yeah, the Warriors' offense is going to suck,' KD would be pissed, Stephen [Curry] would be pissed and Klay [Thompson] would be really pissed. So, that's kind of how I feel about the defensive end."

Similar to Green, Durant was ready for this defensive challenge of a season. He said he heard, "We don't have a rim protector, we're small down low."

So far, they're proving the doubters wrong.

"I knew coming here I had to step it up a bit as far as protecting the rim and rebounding to help the guys out," said Durant, who is averaging a career high in blocks. "We've got a lot of guys who can defend. Since the beginning of the season, we picked it up."

If this defensive surge continues for the Warriors, winners of 12 straight, their critics may be forced to pursue other angles to nitpick.

"My goal coming into this season is to win a championship, and in order for us to win a championship, we've got to defend," Green said. "People are kind of counting our defense out with Bogut leaving, and that kind of pisses me off."

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