The Spurs, not Draymond Green, changed the game of basketball

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Patty Mills #8 of the San Antonio Spurs drives to the basket on Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors during an NBA basketball game at ORACLE Arena on February 10, 2018 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Patty Mills #8 of the San Antonio Spurs drives to the basket on Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors during an NBA basketball game at ORACLE Arena on February 10, 2018 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Draymond Green is overlooking the impact of the San Antonio Spurs when he says the Golden State Warriors changed the game of basketball

Draymond Green has never afraid to speak his mind. The most vocal and controversial of the Golden State Warriors core, he’s made headlines throughout his career for his unfiltered comments. He’s back in the news again and overlooking the San Antonio Spurs along the way.

There’s no debating that the Warriors have been one of the NBA’s all-time great teams over the past decade. Five straight Finals appearances, three NBA Championships, MVP trophies for both Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, and a Defensive Player of the Year award for Green. We all know the resume. But Green’s recent comments are doing a serious injustice to the rest of the league, and the great teams that came before the Warriors rose to dominance.

Green recently appeared on the ‘All the Smoke’ show with ‘SHOWTIME Basketball’ to talk about the Warriors dynasty, Kevin Durant’s departure from the Bay area, and his time in the NBA. While on the show, Green made the claim that he, along with Curry and Klay Thompson, changed the game of basketball forever.

“Honestly, in my opinion, I think I changed the game of basketball with the help of Steph Curry. I think Steph Curry changed the game of basketball with the help of me. I think it was a match made in heaven. And then all of a sudden, Klay Thompson coming in. Becoming the top two shooters in the world. And us three f**k**g changed the game of basketball forever.”

Green was somehow able to overlook the architects of the Warriors dynasty when he made his claim. Would the Warriors’ success have been possible without the help of Bob Meyers and Steve Kerr? I don’t think so.

And I know, players win championships, not front offices. But would the Warriors have been able to sustain their level of success and keep their core together without Meyers and Kerr? And would Kerr have known how to navigate the meteoric rise and large personalities on his team without the mentorship of Gregg Popovich?

Kerr himself has said that he drew inspiration from his time with the San Antonio Spurs. In December of 2019, he was candid in an interview with Logan Murdock of NBC Sports about the impact the Spurs had on his coaching philosophy.

“Pop has made such an influence on my life, my coaching, and I’ve learned so much from him,” Kerr said. “So not only the sets that we run on the floor but just the way we try to treat our players or handle our business. I learned a lot from my time here.”

Kerr has been pointing to the Spurs as the model for the Warriors’ success since Golden State won their first title back in 2015. Pardon the pun but San Antonio was the gold standard for a strong culture and organizational stability long before the Warriors were here. Do you think 3 championships across eight seasons is impressive? Talk to us when you’ve won five and made the playoffs for 22 consecutive seasons.

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On the court, the Warriors didn’t do anything that other teams before them hadn’t done. They just did it better. The Spurs adapted their offense to the motion heavy style we saw them win the 2014 Championship with to compensate for an aging Tim Duncan and to keep pace with faster teams like the Phoenix Suns. The Warriors took that high motion style and fused it with the shooting of the Splash Brothers to build out their blueprint.

The game of basketball is constantly changing. Just look at what we’ve seen over the past few years with the rise of positionless play with an emphasis on playmaking forwards like Ben Simmons and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The game is ever-evolving, with every team trying to find ways to get a slight edge over their opponents.

By saying that he changed the game of basketball, Green is doing a wild disservice to the teams that the Warriors modeled their success after, the front office and coaching staff that helped keep it all together, and the gradual change that influences the NBA as a whole.

There’s a lot of credit to be handed out for the change the Warriors have had on the league, let’s not dump it all at the feet of a guy who wouldn’t have had half the success he’s had if he were on any other team.

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So far Green has used the time freed up by the season being suspended to make headlines for overconfident claims and sitting by while Maverick Carter talked down on the guy who the Warriors are built around. But hey, people use their free time differently.

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