Green reinstated

Green reinstated

As initially projected, the National Basketball Association has reinstated Draymond Green 12 matches into his indefinite suspension. For the Warriors, his availability — slated next week following a ramp-up process to bring him back to game shape — comes at an opportune time. Although they managed to post a winning record with him sidelined is, they know any realistic hopes of going deep in the postseason hinges on his return to the regular rotation. His unique capacity to anchor the defense with sterling coverage and jump-start the offense with astute playmaking makes him their most indispensable cog outside of Stephen Curry.

That said, it’s fair to contend that the Warriors will be welcoming him back with not insignificant doubt. For all pluses he brings with his willingness to tread the fine line between requisite toughness and unnecessary roughness, he has been excessively volatile in recent memory. From his punching of Jordan Poole to choking of Rudy Gobert to roundhousing of Jusuf Nurkic, he has shown an alarming inability to keep his emotions in check. Moving forward, they’re crossing their fingers the controlled aggression that props up his value will not escalate to physical bursts that serve no purpose other than underscore his volatility.

And therein lies the Warriors’ dilemma. Their payroll has ballooned to ridiculous proportions in their efforts to keep the core that brought them four championships, and one just two years ago, but the financial commitments have not translated to any significant gains in standings. They cannot possibly head into the 2024 Playoffs with a .500 slate, not with the unprecedented depth in the West, and not with continued tension between the old guard and the young blood complicating things even further. And because they’ve latched their future to their past, they know they can go only so far as Green can take them.

Make no mistake. Green is still one of the best two-way forces in the league when he’s fully engaged. Needless to say, this is what the Warriors want him to be. And if they’re publicly voicing their confidence all the therapy he underwent and support he received during his suspension has helped his cause, it’s partly because they have no other choice. They’ve made their bet. They want to be in the black, not for him to see red — lest they draw dead in the end.


Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994. He is a consultant on strategic planning, operations and human resources management, corporate communications, and business development.