Warriors' Draymond Green embraces playoff scrutiny: 'It's fun'

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green is "absolutely" ready for the extra spotlight and scrutiny he's sure to attract during the postseason, he told ESPN's Marc Stein.

"I'm looking forward to that scrutiny because it's great," Green said in the SportsCenter interview, which aired Friday. "If you don't have scrutiny, if you don't have pressure, if you don't have spotlight, you're not doing something right. No one cares. So I'm looking forward to it.

"It's been a great [regular season]. The scrutiny has kind of been there -- it's up and down -- but playoffs ... it's a completely different level of everything. So I'm definitely looking forward to it. It's fun."

Green enjoyed his second straight All-Star campaign in 2016-17 and is a leading contender for the league's Defensive Player of the Year award for his role anchoring the Warriors' team schemes.

Golden State posted a league-best record of 67-15 and finished in the No. 2 spot in defensive efficiency, behind San Antonio.

Green also knows he'll be watched closely in the playoffs after last season, when he was suspended for the pivotal Game 5 of the NBA Finals because of an accumulation of flagrant-foul points.

"I'm ready for it, though," Green said. "I've learned from some of the things that have happened over the course of the last year for sure. Learned how to handle different things. ... Obviously being suspended from Game 5 -- just not putting myself in those positions, not accumulating flagrant fouls, [or] technical fouls, to even put the decision in someone else's hands.

"That's kind of the things I learned, knowing that in this playoffs run this year, there's probably going to be a coach to send a guy at me to try and send me off the rocker, or not letting people create a narrative around me of who they want to make me out to be.

"I think that's one of the biggest things for me. It's just being who I am and knowing exactly who that is and being comfortable with who I am but not giving anyone any room to make me out to be what they want me to be."

Green was hit with a flagrant foul 2 for a kick to the groin of Oklahoma City's Steven Adams during the Western Conference finals, then a flagrant foul 1 in the Finals when he responded to Cleveland's LeBron James stepping over him in Game 4 with a swing of his arm to James' groin area.

Because of a technical foul he had received during the first round for a takedown of Houston's Michael Beasley in the waning moments of a game Golden State lost by a point, Green's tangle with James earned him a one-game suspension in the championship series with the Warriors holding a 3-1 lead.

The Cavaliers won the next three games to become the first team in Finals history to overturn a 3-1 series deficit.

"I honestly don't think about it much, because the way I look at it [is] ... we lost," Green said. "Whether we lost a 3-1 lead or whether we [were] down 0-3 and got swept, at the end of the day, you still did not hang the banner. You did not get a ring. So I don't really think about it much.

"Obviously you're ready to get back to that point and try to win a championship -- that's always the goal -- so that's always in your mind. But thinking about last year and what could've been, I don't think about it much because it's over and done with."

Green returned from the suspension in Game 7 and had 32 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in the 93-89 loss to the Cavs at home. Had it turned out of differently, Green likely would have been a strong contender for Finals MVP.

"One thing that I pride myself on is leaving it all out there on the floor each and every night," Green said. "And if it works out, it works out. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. And for me, and for this team, it didn't work out. So, all right, the last two minutes go differently and we win a championship and I'm Finals MVP, great. But it didn't go that way.

"I left that game saying I left everything I had out on the floor and I can sleep at night knowing that I gave every single thing I had left in the tank. If I can do that each and every time I step on the floor, I feel comfortable with myself -- I feel comfortable with myself as a man, as a competitor -- to just move on.

"... When you know you left everything out there on the floor, there's nothing to really dwell on. You just move on from it and get ready for the next time."

Golden State opens its first-round series at home against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.

"I'm definitely ready," Green said. "This is really Year 3 now of what's been an amazing run and, over the course of the regular season, it kind of gets repetitive. So to get to the playoffs, you just get that new energy, you get to finally work towards what your ultimate goal is, which is trying to win a championship and every game at that point matters.

"So I'm definitely ready. My body feels great. I think we're playing great at the right time; we're starting to peak at the right time. So I feel amazing about where we are as a team and where I am as an individual."

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