The Golden State Warriors’ 2022-23 season was supposed to be about their defense of a championship. Instead, one of the biggest stories surrounding the team as the year began revolved around an incident in practice in which Draymond Green punched Jordan Poole, which made headlines even before the video leaked by way of TMZ.
It was a full-blown crisis for Golden State, one which led to Green taking a leave of absence from the team. Back in January, he alluded to it by saying that he hadn’t “been the leader that … I need to be for this team” as a result. And according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, the tension that invariably pops up from this sort of incident lingered for much of the season.
But so much of why the Warriors didn’t come together this year can be traced back to why they nearly came apart at the beginning of the season.
Green’s punch didn’t just knock out Poole. It laid bare the tension between the older championship core and the younger players the organization hoped would supersede them one day. And it has never really gone away, sources say, despite Poole’s relative silence on the matter this season.
In the aftermath of the punch, Poole agreed to a 4-year extension with the team. Green can potentially become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but expressed after the Warriors were eliminated from the playoffs by the Los Angeles Lakers that his hope is to remain with the team.