There’s been a lot of talk about this current version of the Golden State Warriors, which due to string of untimely injuries more closely resembles the 73-9 squad from a few years ago spearheaded by the Splash Brothers’ incendiary shooting and the one-man wrecking crew that is Draymond Green.
Since Kevin Durant went down with a calf strain in Game 5 of the West semis against the Rockets, Golden State has slipped comfortably back into that iteration of themselves and reminded everyone why they were considered one of the greatest teams of all-time even before KD arrived.
They’ve gone 6-0 since, in the process establishing themselves as the clear favorite to win the title and complete that ultra-rare championship three-peat. Still, Green isn’t buying into all the hype surrounding their pre-Durant reunion tour, and after their Game 4 victory to sweep the Blazers in the Western Conference Finals Monday night, he remained adamant that the Warriors both want and need Durant back for their Finals run.
Via Nick Friedell of ESPN:
“There’s been so much talk about how, ‘Oh, they’re the Warriors. Before Kevin got there they were great.’ Bulls—,” Green told ESPN. “We was damn good. I think we were a very good team who was tough to beat. I think when Kevin came here, he made us unbeatable. When DeMarcus [Cousins] came here, it made people scratch their head even more. And so we need those guys. The next series is going to be tough, and I hope and pray that we can get him back.”
This is particularly notable given the previous animosity between these two, which came to a head early in the season with a high-profile verbal altercation inside the huddle during a timeout. Looming large over the proceedings then and now is Durant’s pending free agency and the persistent rumors that he’s strongly considering leaving for the Knicks or elsewhere this summer.
For now, Durant’s timetable for return remains unclear, but he and the Warriors still have until May 30 before Game 1 of the Finals tips off. In the meantime, the speculation will continue, but Green, for his part, will mostly be tuning it out.