Draymond Green blasts teammates after Golden State Warriors' defensive woes continue

Golden State Warriors v Memphis Grizzlies
Golden State Warriors v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Draymond Green returned to the Golden State Warriors on Monday, but it mattered little as the team's defensive woes continued in a shocking 116-107 loss to the short-handed Memphis Grizzlies.

After the Warriors had ranked 29th in defense across Green's 16-game absence, there appeared an early boost when the Grizzlies were kept to 11 points in over six minutes through the veteran forward's first stint off the bench.

Yet despite Green's return limiting Memphis to 23 points in the opening period, the hosts were able to run riot with 31 points in each of the final three-quarters, in doing so adding to Golden State's ever-growing list of disastrous losses this season.

Draymond Green put his teammates on notice after more defensive issues in the Golden State Warriors' loss to the Memphis Grizzlies

Most jarring was the fact the Grizzlies were without their two best offensive players in Ja Morant and Desmond Bane, their fourth-best scorer in Marcus Smart, and their seventh-best scorer in Derrick Rose, not to mention long-term injuries to big men Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke.

Green was solid in his return from a long absence, but he wasn't the cure the Warriors may have hoped for. One player can only take a defense so far, with an all-in approach needed as the former Defensive Player of the Year described in the postgame.

"Just got to have pride in yourself as a man that I'm not going to let my guy score. Our closeouts were too soft, our rotations were too slow, so there's just no pride. Until every guy takes pride in themselves, and wants to stop the guy in front of him, we'll suck."

Draymond Green

With a host of key rotation players out of the picture, a number of lesser-name Grizzlies young players set about making their mark against future hall of famers. That started with 19-year-old rookie GG Jackson who, in just his eighth career game and second playing more than 12 minutes, had 23 points and six rebounds on 6-of-9 shooting including 5-of-8 from three-point range.

Jackson was supported by second-year player Vince Williams Jr. who, having averaged 6.9 points so far this season, poured in 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists on 6-of-11 shooting and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.

The Warriors conceded a season-high 20 three-pointers to the Grizzlies, yet also managed to give up 40 free-throw attempts. Memphis won the three-point and free-throw battle by a combined 53 points, proving the difference in the game along with Golden State's unforgivable 19 turnovers.

They may lack the size and physicality to be a top five defense in the league, but there's no reason the Warriors can't at the very least be league average. The fact this appears to be an effort-based problem is only more concerning to a fanbase quickly growing tired of their team's underwhelming season.