Warriors get needed toughness, dog mindset in Green signing originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Warriors lost more than stats and numbers with their handful of subtractions in free agency this summer. A piece of their heart and soul disappeared, becoming memories of a championship celebration instead of members of the squad going forward.
Juan Toscano-Anderson will always represent Oakland and Dub Nation will always represent JTA. From years of grinding it out in the G League to finally getting his chance in the NBA, Gary Payton II left it all out on the court. In limited playoff opportunities, Nemanja Bjelica worked up a sweat, fought for rebounds and dove for loose balls.
JaMychal Green is ready to make sure the Warriors didn’t lose an ounce of toughness as they look to repeat as champions next season.
“Just coming in and playing hard,” Green said Monday when asked about his role with the Warriors. “Be a dog. Do the dirty work, help [Draymond Green] out with the dirty work and knock down shots and play defense.
“Just coming here to play hard.”
On Monday, Green officially signed his one-year, veteran’s minimum contract with the Warriors after a buyout between him and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
More than once, Green made it clear that he plans to “be a dog” for the Warriors. That’s something every great team, every champion needs. Golden State has it in Draymond and their roster is full of competitors. They’ve had those players with plenty of dog in them before, and Kerr has never shied from stressing the importance of physical and mental toughness.
The franchise feels they have that in another Green.
He isn’t going to back down from opponents bringing their A-game against the Warriors. He isn’t going to back down from a flying elbow in the paint and he isn’t going to back down from bigger players. That includes playing small-ball center at times.
“Most definitely,” Green said about giving the Warriors minutes at center. “I feel like every team I’ve been on so far, I’ve been the backup five times. I’m comfortable with it.”
Last season, according to Basketball-Reference, Green spent 10 percent of his time on the floor as a center for the Nuggets. The season before, that number was 12 percent. Those two percentages rank second and third for his career, behind only 2015-16 when he played 16 percent as a center for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Of course, Kevon Looney and James Wiseman will play the bulk of the center minutes for the Warriors. Behind them, they don’t have a traditional big man. Both Draymond, listed at 6-foot-6, and JaMychal, listed at 6-foot-8, should see time down there.
What the Warriors have to be more focused on with Green’s skill set is his shooting. Like that’s the first time we’ve heard that here.
This past season, the newest Warrior shot a career-worst 26.6 percent from 3-point range. Now we have some more insight into what led to that.
“I had a wrist injury,” Green said. “So, that played a lot with me shooting. When it got towards the end of the season, I just stopped shooting period. Started working around the basket more and ended up jamming my wrist.
“It’s all about reps and confidence. Once I get my reps in at the end of the summer, I’ll be good to go. I was just fighting through some things last year. Just had a down shooting year.”
The savvy veteran still shot 48.6 percent from the field, thanks to making 62.1 percent of his 2-pointers — his highest mark for a full season. Green also made 87.1 percent of his free throws, an indication that his shooting stroke is far from broken.
RELATED: How Green changed his plans after Kerr’s Warriors pitch
Points, rebounds and big dunks will come with time for Green. He’s focused on making his presence felt in other ways too.
Ways that aren’t seen in the box score, yet remain a key ingredient to wins.
“I’m just gonna come in, be a dog,” Green said. “Hit people on offense setting screens hit people on defense. Rebound, knock down shots when they’re open and just run the floor. I’m just gonna be here to do all the little things.”
That all has the making of an instant fan favorite.
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