LOS ANGELES – As the Golden State Warriors prepare for the start of the 2021-22 NBA season, they do so with the renewed optimism of a team hoping to return to the top of the Western Conference rankings after failing to qualify for the Playoffs in each of the last two years.
Veteran Warriors forward Draymond Green is hopeful the young team can come together well, but he offered an honest assessment before Tuesday’s regular season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.
“I think this team could be very good,” Green said of the Warriors. “But I think this team has to grow. We have to put it all together. Are there any aspirations to win a championship? Absolutely. But this team is nowhere near a championship team. I think we have a lot of pieces that could grow, not that. I doubt it at all, but we can’t be fooled by 5-0 in the preseason and say, ‘Oh man, we’re a championship team.’ We have a fucking long way to go. “
Green has taken a softer stance than usual compared to previous years as the organization heads into an uncertain season that will largely be defined on whether former All-Star Klay Thompson and the 2020 No. 2 pick usually. Choose James Wiseman (meniscus rehab) can get back on the floor and contribute to a high level.
Green believes in talent within the group, but also pointed out the “focus” and “dedication” required for any team to come together at the highest level.
“You don’t just win a championship because you think the pieces fit together,” Green said. “You don’t just win a championship because you think you have good talent. You have to make that shit work. So I think we have a good chance of being a good team? Absolutely. But to say we can win a championship, we are a long way from that, like almost every other team in this league, except maybe the Milwaukee Bucks, because they’re coming out of it. Everybody else has a long way to go and we’re in that group that will try to create a separation to be one of those. teams that can compete in June “.
Green admitted that after two disappointing consecutive seasons, he hopes the organization is feeling a little more pressure to turn things around.
“I think we better have some pressure,” Green said. “You can’t keep missing the playoffs. [Los hemos] lost two years in a row. He could do anything to make the playoffs. You go into the playoffs and you’re trying to compete for a championship. So that’s just the first layer; I hope that is not the objective of this organization, it is to reach the Playoffs because, for sure, it is not my objective. “
The Warriors came close to qualifying for the postseason last season, but stopped playing games against the Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies that ended their season earlier than anticipated. Green, who won his second gold medal for Team USA at the Tokyo Games earlier this summer, said he did not think about losses.