Skip to content

Kerr backs Draymond after turbulent year: 'He's worth it'

Lachlan Cunningham / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr continued to back Draymond Green despite the issues he brought on the team this season.

"He's one of the most competitive, he's one of the smartest players I've ever been around," Kerr told reporters Thursday during his season-ending press conference, including The Athletic's Anthony Slater. "And, yet, he makes these decisions that hurt the team, that aren't smart. So how do you reconcile all that? It's really difficult.

"The No. 1 thing I would say is, if we decided he wasn't worth it, then we would have moved off of him years ago. But he's worth it, and he's worth it not only because of the banners that are hanging out there but because he really is a wonderful human being."

The NBA suspended Green twice this season. The former Defensive Player of the Year missed five games in November after he put Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert in a headlock during a brawl between both clubs.

Green then missed another 16 contests for striking Phoenix Suns big man Jusuf Nurkic and was required to undergo counseling before rejoining the Warriors.

Golden State went 10-11 during Green's two suspensions compared to 33-22 with the four-time All-Star in the lineup. The Warriors were clearly a better defensive team when Green was available, surrendering 4.8 fewer points per 100 possessions with the veteran on the floor.

Still, Golden State finished 10th in the West, just three games back of the Phoenix Suns for the No. 6 seed. The Warriors were eliminated from playoff contention following a 118-94 blowout loss to the Sacramento Kings in the play-in tournament.

The sour end to the campaign has raised questions about the future of Golden State's core. But Kerr was adamant about how much Green means to the franchise, even with all his flaws.

"As someone who loves Draymond and values him so much, I am going to continue to help him any way that I can to live his best life, to be the best version of himself, which he really was for the last two months," Kerr said. "I'll be really honest, during the suspension, I was sitting there, like, 'Can he actually get a few sessions of therapy and change? I don't think that's possible.'

"But whatever he did over the last three months, he was the best version of himself, not just on the court, in the locker room, leading the young guys. His teammates would all tell you how great he was."

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox