April 14, 2024
Draymond Green and Chris Paul, longtime rivals, are learning to become teammates

SAN FRANCISCO — Draymond Green did not like Chris Paul, Green has openly admitted.

At Warriors media day on Monday, Green spent nearly six minutes explaining why the mutual hate they developed as rivals can only help them as teammates.

“If you’ve ever watched Chris compete, he’s kind of an asshole,” Green said. “He may say the same thing about me, and that’s OK.”

There’s a reason the visual of Paul suited up in Golden State colors has become a pinch-me moment in Warriors land. He’s always been the marquee Warriors villain, popping up as the bad guy in every title run spanning from his Los Angeles Clippers days of the early 2010s to the Houston Rockets rivalry to his recent seasons with Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns.

Paul’s sarcastic laugh at coach Steve Kerr caught on camera in 2018 has become a viral meme while Curry and Green’s behind-the-scenes mockery of Paul kicking them off a practice court in Houston is well-documented. Since Green is the Warriors’ established agitator and pot-stirrer, of course he and Paul have exchanged on-court barbs and jabs.

“We’ve been competing for a championship for eight years. He’s been at the center of six of them,” Green said. “Of course there’s going to be some animosity, and there was a lot of it.”

Now that villain has become an ally, Green and Paul must learn how to channel animosity into competitive fire. Green thinks playing so close to that fire together over the last decade can give the Warriors an advantage.

Golden State has two villains. In their eyes, they have two competitors of a kind.

“We’re dogs. We’re men,” Green said. “We have an opportunity to go do something special together. Would never let that go by the wayside.”

Added Paul: “We’ve been the craziest competitors against each other for a long time.”

Green and Paul have gotten together for dinners, workouts and make an effort to get to know each other as teammates instead of foes. Green noted that Paul is one of the smartest NBA players he’s faced along with LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, adding that he’s already learning from the vet.

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Most importantly, the pair have gotten on the same page about their goals for joining villain forces and put the past behind them.

“The goal is to win, and I know he wants to win,” Green said. “My goal is to do all that I can to make sure that I help him win. And anything that happened before that, it happened. It definitely doesn’t change our past.

Becoming teammates doesn’t chang the things that’s happened in the past. We have battled, for sure, but I think the part I’m most excited about is getting to know the person. I know I can probably relate to Chris, most people probably hate me that don’t know me…And Chris has definitely got some of that himself. You don’t know him, you probably hate him. You get to know him and you realize there’s a competitor and person.”

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