Many players around the NBA have noticed a certain air of mortality around the Golden State Warriors this season. While Draymond Green agrees the team hasn't been nearly as dominant as the team that won a record 73 games in 2015-16, he believes it's all part of an illusion opponents have to believe to give themselves a reason to come at the throne.
“People want to make themselves believe that we’re beatable, and I don’t blame anyone for that,” Green told Sam Amick of The Athletic while sitting at his locker after the Warriors' 22-point beatdown of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday. “You should believe that we’re beatable and that you can beat us. But at the end of the day, in a seven-game series, you’ve got to go out four times and prove that. And until someone proves that, they can think what they want.”
From the uncertainty of Kevin Durant's return to the challenge of incorporating DeMarcus Cousins to a depleted bench with little firepower, the Warriors have navigated a series of obstacles that have made them good enough to lead the West, yet not enough to inspire the fear they once cast over the rest of the Western Conference.
“Like said in the beginning of the season, when the s**t happened with me and Kevin, everybody hopes that something like that would tear us apart,” Green continued. “But the fact of the matter is it’s not. And until somebody can come and beat us, it don’t matter. If I was on the other team, I’d hope some s**t like that would tear us apart too.
“At the end of the day, we’ve had, what, five great years? Like long seasons doing great things. Eventually, most of the time, that s**t takes a toll on its own. I don’t knock anyone for hoping that (it breaks them), because it’s been proven that no one can really stop it, so you’ve got to hope that it self-implodes.
“Nonetheless, the most important thing about it all is that everybody in this locker room has one common goal, and don’t s**t else matter. And that’s the problem that the other 29 teams got. Things happen. S**t does happen, but we’ve still got one common goal. Through all the bulls**t, that goal will remain the same.”
The Warriors don't need to live up to the expectation of being the NBA's basketball nirvana. They only need to get along enough to rally their efforts to that common goal.
So far, Durant and company have shown no signs of being distracted from the task at hand, despite the many bumps they've encountered throughout a long 82-game season.