Draymond Green sets his own time table for return: March 14th
After glimpses at future, full(ish) squad Warriors need some wins
The Golden State Warriors are back home after going 0-4 on a brutal road trip. The combination of roster stress from injuries, a tough stretch of games, and some mid-season slumps have all combined to create a disheartening, bitter mouthful of basketball. But just as Daniel Hardee will tell you, this season isn’t really about some random stretch of games in February or March. And the first step to getting back on track as the playoffs approach is to get the gang back together.
We finally got a solid date on that, from the man himself!
For those that don’t want to click, here’s the transcript of the salient portion:
"I am projecting, or targeting, my return next Monday the 14th vs. the Wizards. That is the date that I am targeting. I'm excited as hell, it's been two and a half months... I've never missed that much time during the season," Draymond said on a podcast segment posted to Twitter. "I'm extremely excited to get back out there with my guys to help right this ship."
That timeline is pretty close. If it turns out to be accurate, He'd be back next Monday against the Wizards! So after tonight's game, this means Draymond Green would only miss two more games: against the Nuggets (on Thursday) and Bucks (this Saturday).
WHO: Golden State Warriors (43-22) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (34-32)
WHEN: Tuesday, March 8, 2022 // 7:00pm PDT
WATCH: NBCSBA; TNT
Blog Buddy: 213 Hoops
Injury Report: No Kawhi or Paul George for the Clippers; Warriors haven’t submitted at time of writing
Green may be the secret sauce, but Warriors edge players showed up - can it all be combined?
Fresh after a night off, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins are returning to the fray tonight against a sneaky good Los Angeles Clippers team. Still no updates on James Wiseman, or Andre Iguodala.1 But if Golden State’s big three are on point tonight, and some of the youth movement we saw last night can make an appearance, then this partially full squad should be able to find some wins.
Stepping back a bit, the broader picture of the Warriors youth movement that we all caught a glimpse of against the Nuggets is enticing. But the question is one of unification. Moses Moody just had the best game of his professional career - by far - and with coach Steve Kerr’s rotations up in the air, it’s a valid question if Moody and Kuminga can honestly help some in the playoffs.
Without Green, the Warriors’ core flaws are too exposed. Point of attack defenders get beat, and then the reactive defense over-scrambles hoping to plug the hole only to open additional cracks by moving out of position. Green doesn’t fix everything, but he sure does fix a ton of those sorts of issues.
But the glimpses of the youth movement on display last night, against the backdrop of a Warriors rotation that has looked pretty bad recently might condense the scheduled merge of Golden State’s timelines.
Because as much heat as Kerr has taken for the Warriors recent struggles, the imminent return of Green finally sets up Kerr to start setting his playoff rotations.
Bjelica hasn’t been usable without Green, Kuminga plays a position up. Toscano-Anderson has been playing a position down. Not to mention the organizational chaos of filling the sum of minutes that Green plays.
With Green’s return, this final stage of the season where the team has to bring it all together is set. So far, the signs are encouraging for a team that has stayed the course despite struggles, and now it’s just a few more games to see if the puzzle pieces can all fit together in time to matter.
Though there’s nothing formal, Anthony Slater had this to say about Iguodala:
“Andre Iguodala shouldn’t be far from a return either. He’s scrimmaged in recent days. Even if it’s just for 15-20 minutes three out of every four games, that’ll be an organizing force for their shifting second unit, which is becoming more populated with teenagers than veterans.”