Draymond gets rave reviews to start Warriors training camp originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO — The first scrimmage of Warriors training camp on Saturday at Chase Center following their latest NBA championship went as expected. It was short, full of energy and extremely one-sided.
“The group that just won the title a few months ago basically dominated practice, as they should,” Steve Kerr said. “The scrimmage, the live stuff — they looked fantastic.
“Draymond [Green] had a great practice. Everybody looks really good and ready to go. And then all the young guys, they got to learn from the older guys. It’s going to be a fun team to coach.”
With everybody back in the building, aside from Andre Iguodala, who had an excused absence and is expected to return Monday for Warriors practice, Kerr made it a point to shout out his star power forward — one who he controversially sat for a key stretch in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
Ever since Green’s back injury that held him out for two months of the regular season and diminished his skill set much of the time upon his return, questions have surrounded his future. Coming into his 11th season and turning 33 years old in March, can the four-time All-Star consistently play at an elite level? Trying to do just that after a back injury, especially with Green’s style of play and long history of battling big men much larger than him, won’t be easy.
Kerr believes training camp starting back up is a relief for players like Green and Steph Curry, two stars whose offseasons aren’t always full of rest. They’re back to their routine, but more importantly in Green’s case, his health looked like the pre-injury version of himself. That version was on the path to winning a second Defensive Player of the Year award last season.
“His conditioning looked good, his body looks good,” Kerr said. “He’s really moving well, both laterally and sprint speed moving up and down the floor. He was mentoring the young guys, coaching them up in drill work.
“And then on the floor, his team, the Blue Team, with [Kevon Looney] and Steph and [Andrew Wiggins], that group … they just demolished everybody.”
One player who was on the other side of that demolition was Donte DiVincenzo, a key free-agent addition expected to give the Warriors plenty of minutes and value off the bench. When DiVincenzo signed with the Warriors in the offseason, Green was a big reason why. On the other side of a phone call, Draymond didn’t have to give a giant recruiting pitch for DiVincenzo to come to San Francisco.
He shot it straight to him, and the 25-year-old guard was all in. His first training camp practice sharing the floor with Green was an easy reminder why he chose the Warriors, as opposed to more money elsewhere.
From his play to voice, Green again was back home with his Golden State teammates. He controlled every inch of the court.
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“That’s what he does,” DiVincenzo said. “That’s all I’ve heard since I got here, and I witnessed it for the first day. It’s contagious, I would say. His positive energy correcting people, teaching people right away was great.
“Like I said, it’s contagious and you want to learn, you want to get better and just follow his lead.”
Following Green’s lead has led to a whole lot of wins and rings in the past. If he’s back to the player he was for the first two-plus months of last season, that should be the same case for the Warriors as they start up their title defense.