The Golden State Warriors learned not to poke the bear from the Memphis Grizzlies as the team prepares to take on LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA playoffs. Warriors big man Draymond Green emphasized that James should not be counted out just yet, while predicting an “epic” series against the Lakers.
“This series against the Lakers is going to be epic,” Green told reporters on April 30, 2023 after the Warriors defeated the Kings to advance in the postseason. “You got Steph, you got Bron doing it all over again. We’ve never played against the Lakers in a playoff series, we get to experience that. I mean, it’s a ton of little things going on.”
Draymond Green on LeBron James: ‘Stop Trying to Turn the Page on Bron So Fast’
Green has never been shy about instigating things against opponents, but so far the Warriors appear to be going out of their way to praise James. Green took the opposite approach as Dillon Brooks emphasizing that people need to “stop trying to turn the page on Bron so fast.”
“What I will say is, stop trying to turn the page on us so fast,” Green added. “Stop trying to turn the page on Bron so fast. We get so caught up in what’s the next thing that we don’t appreciate the current [players]. And then, you get to the next thing and [start] looking back like, ‘Man, I wish we still had that. I wish we could still see this.’”
The Warriors Are Favored to Beat the Lakers in the NBA Playoffs
James has been playing the rare role of the underdog this postseason given the Lakers’ No. 7 seed status. Los Angeles will once again be given the opportunity to embrace being underdogs as Golden State is a -158 favorite to win the series, per FanDuel. The Warriors also open up as a five-point favorite over the Lakers in Game 1.
Los Angeles will have their hands full trying to find a way to slow down Steph Curry. The superstar is coming off dropping 50 points, eight rebounds and six assists against the Kings in Game 7 as the Warriors advanced to the second round.
Lakers Rumors: Draymond Green Has Been Linked to LA for the 2023 Free Agency
Despite starting their careers as rivals, Green has continued to praise James in recent years. This has prompted speculation that Green would have an interest in joining the Lakers this offseason. Green is slated to have a $27.5 million salary in 2023-24 in the final season of his four-year, $99.6 million contract. The star big man has a player-option which could make Green a free agent this offseason.
During an exclusive conversation with Heavy Sports NBA insider Sean Deveney last fall, one Western Conference executive mentioned Los Angeles as a potential fit for Green. The big man’s lack of shooting (a career 31.4% three-point shooter) could prompt the Lakers to pass on Green.
“Draymond Green is on the list, too, if he decides to opt out, and he probably will,” the NBA exec told Heavy Sports in October 2022. “He makes them a much better defensive team if you drop him onto that roster, but he is getting more and more unusable on offense and they can’t afford another non-shooter.”
It is important to note that this conversation occurred prior to the Lakers overhauling their roster at the NBA trade deadline. The Lakers are projected to have nearly $30 million in cap space this offseason, per Spotrac, but the team is expected to use the majority of this money to retain some of their recent acquisitions including guard D’Angelo Russell.