The time is now for Draymond Green to prove how important he is to the Warriors
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The time is now for Draymond Green to prove how important he is to the Warriors

Draymond Green has long been recognized as the heartbeat of the Golden State Warriors. However, now that Kevin Durant has left the Bay Area, Green’s importance to the franchise will be all the more evident.

Green is ready for this increased responsibility, though. In fact, the former Michigan State standout has said that he’s back on his playoff diet, so he should be in great shape to accept an increased workload from head coach Steve Kerr.

“I’m back on my playoff diet,” the two-time All-NBA selection told Mark Medina of USA Today Sports.

A day before training camp started, Green made a season-long pledge to abstain entirely from liquor and junk food. As a result, he says that he no longer feels fatigued from the Warriors’ NBA Finals runs.

“I’m using it to get all the way into game shape, to hone everything in and get my feel back,” Green said. “It will allow me to attack the preseason the way I have in the past, as opposed to last year where it was kind of a disaster.”

Draymond is coming off a fine season with the Dubs, though his statistics were a bit down due the fact that he was relegated to the third or fourth option on the team. Injuries played a role as well, as he missed some time with foot and toe injuries.

In his 66 appearances last regular season (all starts), Green racked up averages of 7.4 points on 44.5 percent shooting from the field (28.5 percent from beyond the arc), 7.3 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.1 blocks in 31.3 minutes per outing. For the record, his 7.4 points per game were the lowest since his 2013-14 season in the NBA. He’ll likely be looking to improve on that mark.

The Warriors will have some familiar faces, but the team will look quite a bit different this season. Golden State sent Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies to trim salary, and Shaun Livingston decided to retire. Furthermore, Klay Thompson is expected to miss much of the coming campaign as he recovers from a left knee injury. All of this adds up to Green being more important to his team than ever.

Despite these injuries and changes to the lineup, Green is still keeping a positive outlook:

“You can look at it as the roster has been turned over and you have to figure it out. Or you look at it from the standpoint that it’s been five years with the same band. Sometimes the band has been on tour for so long and then it gets harder,” Green told USA Today. “You can look at it from that standpoint of there’s lots of new energy and new hunger. That is needed, so that’s the way I see it.”

The Warriors finished the 2018-19 regular season with an impressive 57-25 overall record, which earned the team a No. 1 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. Unfortunately, though, Golden State was defeated by the Toronto Raptors in the Finals, 4-2.

Without a doubt, Draymond Green will be looking to lead his team on another postseason run.