Draymond Green’s Halftime Tirade a Big Deal?

Feb 27, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) discusses a call with an NBA official in action against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) discusses a call with an NBA official in action against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports /

Draymond Green’s locker room outburst during the halftime break against the OKC Thunder has been subject to much criticism. Was it a big deal?

Draymond Green is a passionate player.

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He wears his heart on his sleeve. When he’s happy, he’ll flex on his opponents and scream. When he feels like he’s being slighted, he’ll let everyone in the building know he’s displeased. It’s just who he is. He’s the heartbeat of the Warriors, their emotional leader.

When Saturday’s game against the Oklahoma City returned from the half, ABC’s Lisa Salters had a fascinating report on something that happened inside of Golden State’s locker room.

"One of the players went on a profanity-laced tirade. I did not hear what precipitated it, but he was yelling so loudly that I could hear everything that he was saying. I think you heard a little bit of it as well, Mike [Breen]. I think that it was Draymond Green. The indications that I’ve gotten from other players is that it was Draymond Green. He was yelling and screaming “I am not a robot, I know I can play. You have me messed up right now. If you don’t want me to shoot, I won’t shoot the rest of the game.” At one point, people were trying to get him to sit down, from what I could hear, and he was daring people, threatening people, “come sit me down.” It then got very quiet, guys came out of the locker room."

She said it was so loud that anyone in the hallway could hear it. Salters also added that she has never heard anything like that coming from a professional locker room.

ESPN’s Ethan Strauss shed a little more light onto how jarring of a situation it actually was.

Stephen A. Smith said on First Take that his sources told him that Green was frustrated with Steve Kerr and even challenged him during his profanity-laced tirade. When asked about Smith’s report, Kerr brushed it off, joking that he hadn’t seen him in the locker room.

So the question is: was Draymond Green’s halftime tirade a big deal? Maybe, but not for the reason you’d think.

Of course, coming at your coach is inappropriate and Green knows better than that. But Kerr seems to have established the type of relationship with his players and staff that gives them room to have a discussion with him, no matter how impassioned or loud it may be. Emotions run high in NBA locker rooms and going into the halftime break losing in a highly anticipated game can only heighten those emotions. So even if the exact reason for it is unknown, it’s possible to get a general understanding of why it may have happened.

Green has since apologized and Stephen Curry said “it shouldn’t have happened.” But he is emotional and things like this happen in this league especially when the stakes are so high. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. Many are claiming that there’s “trouble in paradise,” but it doesn’t seem reasonable to suggest that this could derail what Green and the Warriors are doing. I mean, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.

ESPN’s J.A. Adande wrote a wonderful piece about what Green brings to the team. He cites his passionate leadership style keeps the Warriors going. Adande describes an incident during a Warriors’ win in Los Angeles against the Clippers between Green and Marreese Speights.

"“Soft,” Green said from his seat on the bench, before deciding that wasn’t enough.“Soft as f—.”Speights disagreed with that assessment. And to demonstrate, he suggested that they take the conversation to the back of Oracle Arena and settle things there, nonverbally."

The timeout ended and they moved on. “Alpha-males,” as Kerr described it, get into it each other sometimes. I’m sure this wasn’t be the first time Green challenges his teammates in the locker room and it won’t be the last. Curry admitted that it “unified” the team as they mounted their incredible comeback. After returning from the break, the team huddled around Green as he gave them a speech on the court.

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Green’s outbursts can be and have been beneficial to the team.

But after taking a closer look at it, there could be something else at play. While Green and Kerr may have a mutual understanding and respect for each other, there’s something not quite right with the power forward’s shooting.

Salters reported that Green’s shooting seemed to be the center of his tirade. Green half-joked during the Warriors’ championship parade that his coach would get on him about his shot selection. He’s also said that when Kerr first started running practices, there were growing pains. The All-Star felt that his new coach didn’t like him and didn’t want him to shoot. After getting off to a great start with interim coach Luke Walton, Green, once again, joked that he’d have to shoot less upon Kerr’s return.

He converted a measly 17 percent of his threes in February and his true shooting percentage in the month was a season-low 52 percent. His numbers across the board aren’t what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from Green. They’re not terrible numbers (except for his three-point percentage) and the Warriors keep winning, but he’s committed to excellence and shown he can play at a higher level. Perhaps fatigue is starting to set in as he’s had to log a lot of minutes guarding much bigger players or maybe there’s something else.

Curry’s ridiculous play as of late has overshadowed everyone and saved the Warriors on numerous occasions. Everyone has had to take even more of a backseat to the MVP. There’s no way to know what’s going on right now, but perhaps the power forward feels as if he’s receiving unnecessary flack from Kerr and the staff.

Whatever the case may be, Green is going to give the Warriors all he’s got. He’s a competitor with too much pride to go down without a fight. Kerr respects the fight–just ask Michael Jordan. The Warriors will be fine. Locker rooms aren’t meant to be perfect. Improvement comes through struggles. But Green’s shooting and offensive role should be something worth noting moving forward.

It’s better that this outburst happened now rather than in a few months when the playoffs start. This will give Green, Kerr, and the Warriors enough time to figure out whatever’s potentially not working and fix it.

If you’re going to lean on him to be your emotional leader, then you’re going to have to deal with his occasional outbursts as well. When it matters the most, Draymond Green will be there for his team, battling until he can’t anymore.