The Golden State Warriors went from a middle of the road playoff team to a historically great one when Draymond Green emerged as an All-Star power forward. Stephen Curry became a two-time MVP with the impact Green made stretching the floor, making plays and defensively in a 30+ minutes per game role.
But Green's emotional style could be a detriment to the team long-term.
After the Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics in double overtime for their 24th straight win, the coaching staff decided to rest the starters the next night at the Milwaukee Bucks. But the plan was canceled after Green delivered an impassioned speech about chasing history.
"Throughout the season, Green, in the guise of motivation, would berate his co-workers during games and practices; on multiple occasions he had to be separated from teammates," writes Strauss.
"Draymond f---ed up practice and s---," Marreese Speights said. "Draymond's a good guy, but I think at the end of the day, it hurt the whole chemistry of the year."
Speights said Klay Thompson was a frequent target for Green.
"Draymond and Klay got into it a lot."
During Steve Kerr's leave of absence last season, he visited the team before a win over the Lakers on Nov. 24th that sources say was meant to emphasize compassion to Green. Kerr's four core values are joy, mindfulness, competition and compassion.
Green also had an outburst at Kerr during halftime of a Feb. 27th game at the Oklahoma City Thunder that was nationally televised.
"I am not a robot!" Green yelled at Kerr. When Kerr tells him to sit down, Green screams, "Motherf---er, come sit me down!"
Green's comments were reported at halftime by Lisa Salters.
"I'm standing outside the locker room with the Oklahoma City police, which are always stationed outside of every locker room," Salters will later recall. "They kind of moved me aside, and the officer just kind of stood by the door, with his hand on his weapon like he was trying to determine what he should do. It was clear that something bad was about to happen in this locker room. We've never heard anything like this before."
Kerr and the Warriors have to walk a fine line with Green.
"The dangerous thing is," Kerr says, "if you try to temper him too much, are you taking away his edge?"
There also seems to be little organizational support to counter Green's excesses.
"He's on an island," one Warriors official says of Kerr.
"He's what will ultimately prevent them from having long-term success," said one NBA team executive.