Warriors’ Draymond Green vows to ‘remove the antics’

Warriors’ Draymond Green vows to ‘remove the antics’

BACK at practice Tuesday for the first time since his 12-game suspension, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green said he is confident he can alter his ways and help the team turn its season around.

Mr. Green, 33, was suspended indefinitely after taking a swing at Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic’s head last month. He had been suspended for five games in November for putting Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Goebert in a headlock.

“When I look back at these situations, it’s like, ‘Can I remove the antics?’ I am very confident I can remove the antics,” Mr. Green said. “And I am very confident if I do, no one is worried about how I play the game of basketball (or) how I carry myself in the game of basketball. It’s the antics. That’s the focus. It’s not changing who I am completely. You don’t change the spots on a leopard.

“I’m not going to set an unrealistic set of expectations. … Can I accept that my antics have been over the top? Of course. Can I remove them? Of course.”

Mr. Green will participate in all practices and scrimmages this week, though no date has been set for his return to game action. “They’re putting the plan together to ramp up. If it were up to me, I would love to come back and play right now,” Mr. Green said.

Teammate Brandin Podziemski started a round of applause as Warriors coach Steve Kerr welcomed Mr. Green back to practice, but the veteran forward felt he didn’t deserve it.

“I’ve cost my team enough. I’ve cost this organization enough,” Mr. Green said. “It’s not a time for me to just come back and be like, ‘Alright, I’m going to take my time and get back when I can.’ No, like, you caused this yourself. You don’t get the grace.”

Without Mr. Green, Mr. Kerr and the Warriors have dropped to 12th in the Western Conference at 17-19. While the coach is glad to have Mr. Green back, it doesn’t mean things will go back to normal right away. “I’m just open-minded,” Mr. Kerr said. “… He’s still obviously a huge part of this thing and a huge part of our leadership. He is going to reassume that mantle. But he needs the awareness that comes with what he’s just gone through and what he has put the team through, as well.”

Mr. Green, who in his 12th season has averaged 9.7 points, 5.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds in 15 games, said his self-reflection was a result of having time to devote to it, not because the league mandated it.

“Part of the indefinite return was about being in a better space, to allow my mind to process what it looks like to get in a better space,” he said. — Reuters