How Draymond Green is embracing Warriors leadership role in second unit

Dray embracing ‘important’ second-unit role with goals in mind originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

As the Warriors attempt to figure out a second-unit formula that works, it seems they finally might have found a solution to those minutes when Steph Curry isn’t on the floor.

And his name is Draymond Green.

The veteran forward, who typically plays the majority of his minutes alongside Curry, has helped the second unit settle down over the last two games he has played — and that’s a role he’s embracing with several goals in mind.

“I think it’s very important, because it’s not so much the point total that’s been lost. It’s the energy that’s been lost,” Green told reporters after the Warriors’ 124-107 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night at Chase Center. “And then you try to come back from that, and sometimes it’s impossible to overcome, you know? I think that the importance of it is just making sure that we’re able to sustain the level of energy needed to win at a high level, so that’s my goal.”

The defending-champion Warriors have got of to a 9-10 start to the 2022-23 NBA season and currently are No. 11 in the Western Conference.

Golden State’s first and only road win of the season came against the Houston Rockets on Sunday and featured coach Steve Kerr inserting Green into the second unit. In the Warriors’ win over the Clippers, Green once again anchored a second unit that also included Jordan Poole, Donte DiVincenzo, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Lamb.

The blowout victory ensued, and the second unit’s new energy was palpable.

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Green explained that he’s working to boost the second unit through two means.

“Number one is trying to slow the unit down,” Green said. “That unit should not play as fast as the first unit. It should be more methodical. It should be more sets. It should be more patterned movements as opposed to random movements and random offense.

“… And then, number two, and most importantly, is to make sure that unit is defending, because as a second unit, your job isn’t to go out there and build the lead. Your job is to maintain the lead, and any instance that the first unit failed to build a lead, then your job is to slow down and settle the game.”

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Green said he’s trying to help the second unit play as much “mistake-free basketball” as they can, and his teammate Kevon Looney is seeing the fruits of those efforts on the floor.

“I would say a lot of guidance,” Looney said Wednesday of what Green brings to the second unit. “… Getting guys in the right spot, having another coach on the floor, point guard on the floor, who can orchestrate the offense, and when things get stagnant, he knows how to get guys going, he knows where to get guys in their spots, and he’s also an anchor on defense for them guys.

“I think he’s a great piece for them when things get a little stagnant, or the ball gets stuck, or guys don’t know what to run. He’s a coach out there on the court.”

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As the Warriors look to get their season back on track, it appears they’re, well, on the right track.

And with a leader like Green on the floor coaching the second unit, those early woes certainly look like they’re on their way out.

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