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Stanford Online High School's student run news site

OHS Observer

Stanford Online High School's student run news site

OHS Observer

How A Lack of Accountability Is Ruining the Warriors’ Dynasty

Draymond Green (right) stands with former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (left) during a visit in 2018.
Wikimedia Commons
Draymond Green (right) stands with former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (left) during a visit in 2018.

Draymond Green  is undoubtedly one of the greatest players in the history of the Golden State Warriors. Coming out of Michigan State, no one expected him to become a 4-time NBA Champion, 4-time NBA All-Star, and earn the Defensive Player of the Year Award. He is the voice of their team, the glue that completes the puzzle, and an integral component to the Warriors’ run.

 

However, Green’s antics on the court are jeopardizing the future of this team. After putting Rudy Gobert into a chokehold during the in–season tournament  and punching Jusuf Nurkić in the head, he has been indefinitely suspended by the NBA. Since his suspension, the Warriors have gone 7-6 and currently sit as the 12th seed in a tough Western Conference.

 

Players around the league have been supporting Green and wishing him a speedy recovery. Gobert said he has “empathy” for “somebody that’s not well inside and suffering.” Nurkić told reporters, “that brother needs help.”

 

But these incidents are not just about Green’s mental health or physical confrontations. It is a reflection of a deeper, more systemic issue within the Warriors’ organization: the challenge of maintaining accountability in the face of success and star power.

 

This all began with the infamous altercation involving Kevin Durant. After the former 2014 MVP joined the Warriors in 2016, they won consecutive NBA Championships in 2017 and 2018. However, in a regular-season game during the 2018-2019 season, Durant became frustrated at Green for not passing him the ball in the final seconds of regulation. Green cussed him out and reportedly told him  that they didn’t need him and they could win without him.

Kevin Durant left the Warriors in 2019 NBA Free Agency to join the Brooklyn Nets. (Wikimedia Commons)

 

Instead of addressing this issue head-on, their organization effectively swept the entire incident under the rug by simply suspending Green for one game without pay. This decision by the management team would ultimately have far-reaching implications. Their failure to mediate the growing tension between key players hinted at a deeper problem within their culture: a reluctance to confront and resolve internal conflicts.

 

This eventually contributed to Durant leaving the Warriors in 2019, marking the end of what could have been an even more successful run. This decision was not just the result of a singular disagreement, but rather the culmination of unchecked actions and fostering a culture that prioritized short-term success over long-term cohesion and accountability.

 

The most important question remained: Had Draymond Green learned his lesson from this fiasco? Following the Warriors’ 2022 NBA Championship, rising talents Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins expected long-term contracts. However, the following summer, Green also needed a contract extension, complicating the Warriors’ financial flexibility.

 

During one of their practice sessions, Green punched Poole in the face and the clip went viral. It is speculated that the tension from contract negotiations and a bit of trash talk from Poole escalated the situation to this level. However, this should not serve as a rational justification for knocking out your own teammate.

 

Did the Warriors’ management learn their lesson from last time? One might expect a suspension, a mandated reconciliation meeting, or at least some form of team intervention. No. Green was fined an undisclosed amount, but there was no suspension or a meeting to address the issue head on.

 

This response is quite shocking considering the nature of the incident. This altercation seriously affected Poole’s reputation and shook him both physically and mentally. Although he eventually agreed on an extension, the incident loomed over his head like a dark cloud throughout the rest of the season.

 

The tension between Green and Poole became unbearable to the point that they traded Poole to the Washington Wizards the following season. What would normally warrant a significant disciplinary response in a professional setting was simply settled with a fine, raising significant questions about how this organization prioritizes the well-being of their players.

Jordan Poole was punched by Draymond Green during a practice in 2022. (Wikimedia Commons)

 

The handling of these incidents by the Warriors’ management demonstrates how the mental and emotional impact of such conflicts is often overshadowed by focusing on the immediate, tangible outcomes. Whether it be in the world of professional sports, the office, or even school, the psychological effects are frequently given less weight compared to physical repercussions.

 

This is becoming a common trend in professional sports and other high-pressure environments, where immediate success is often prioritized over addressing deeper, long-term issues. The pressure to win games, meet quarterly targets, or achieve academic success can sometimes  foster a culture that encourages practices that compromise the mental and emotional health of individuals.

 

However, it is important to strike a balance between achieving immediate goals and developing a healthy and more sustainable environment. When sports teams try to ignore interpersonal tensions among players to focus on winning games, it will ultimately backfire. When we disregard our mental health and keep pushing forward, most of us will reach a limit and burn out.

 

The Warriors’ management’s handling of these incidents underscores the need for a more comprehensive approach that considers the emotional and psychological well-being of all individuals involved. Green’s words and actions might not have left visible marks on his victims, but it definitely hurt them internally. This directly correlates to on-court success, as a growing disconnect between players entirely messes up the dynamics of the team. What could have been two or three more championships is now just that: what could have been.

 

As Green makes his return, everything falls directly on his shoulders. It is a chance for redemption, a chance to show that he has learned from his mistakes, a chance to prove that he can still bring the Warriors back to the championship level.

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