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Draymond Green and JJ Redick teamed up this week for a live crossover episode of their podcasts, The Draymond Green Show and The Old Man & The Three, for a lengthy conversation about everything from the Warriors title to the “new media” — with special guest Stephen A. Smith.
The portion of the conversation garnering the most attention is their discussion of Kevin Durant’s importance to the title teams in 2017 and 2018, with plenty wondering after the Warriors won a title without him this year if they needed KD. Green insists they did — not to beat the Rockets as he laughed while insisting Houston would never have beaten them — in order to beat those Cavs teams.
— The Volume (@TheVolumeSports) June 28, 2022
The full conversation can be seen here, and the KD remarks start around the 19 minute mark, with Green going on to explain fully why he believes that and why this year’s team — and more importantly, this current version of Stephen Curry — allowed them to win without needing a KD.
As he saw it, teams had started to figure out the Warriors motion-heavy offense and they needed someone who could just go score when things broke down, which he didn’t think Curry was able to do at that point — but playing those years and getting stronger got Steph to that level that KD was already on as an isolation scorer.
“Here’s why. Teams had figured us out, and I personally don’t think at that point, Steph Curry had figured out ‘I’m going to get a bucket whenever I want to.’ I don’t think he was capable of that yet,” Green said. “I think he was still growing into that, so because of that, once teams started to figure our offense out, we were starting to struggle more and more. I’m not sure if you remember that series in OKC where we were down 3-1 and we had to come back, and that’s because teams had started to figure it out. So then what in turn ended up happening was, Steph still creates all the havoc that he fucking creates – like I tweeted Steph faced so many double teams that Kevin didn’t. That’s a fact, you can go look at the numbers or just watch the game if you can analyze the game better then Skip Bayless. If you watch the game then you see Steph’s getting double teamed and Ty Lue goes publicly and says I’m double teaming Steph Curry every chance I get. Kevin wasn’t getting double teamed, but the reality is, is we got to a point where we needed to be able to give someone the ball that could just go get a buckets. Kevin was already there and I don’t think Steph was there yet. So it gets us through those two years, we get those two championships, but while we’re doing it Steph is continuing to work and evolving and most importantly becoming the strongest dude on our team.”
Some Warriors fans haven’t been thrilled with Green’s comments about Curry, but it’s not him taking any veiled shots at Steph but simply pointing out that he was still evolving as a scorer. Green notes that even now Curry is the strongest player on the Warriors, something that he became during that run, and as such he can attack downhill better and fend off defenders at the rim and coming off screens when they try to push him off his spot.