Golden State Warriors teammates Draymond Green and Jordan Poole were involved in a physical altercation that resulted in Green “forcefully striking” Poole, according to the Athletic.
The report raised an understandable level of concern amongst the Warriors fanbase that locker room tension will deter their beloved team’s pursuit of a repeat championship. That likely will not be the case.
Green has already apologized to his teammates for escalating the situation with Poole, Jason Dumas of KRON4 news reported. Admitting that he let his emotions get the best of him, Green apologized for resorting to physical violence during a verbal disagreement.
While there is no official reports on the mental state of Jordan Poole at this time, the young guard was seen getting up shots after the altercation, and seemed “in good spirits.”
The Warriors are rightfully not concerned
C.J. Holmes of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that while disciplinary action will be taken against Draymond Green, the Warriors currently do not believe this will be an issue in the long-term. Looking at history both with this team and others like it, that is the right thinking.
In the initial report from The Athletic, it was mentioned that Poole and Green regularly get into arguments at practice. This incident of course crossed the line, but this is not a new occurrence for these two players.
Several days before this incident, Klay Thompson went on record saying, “If you can’t be yelled at by Draymond, you can’t play on the Warriors. It’s kind’ve like a bylaw now.”
Verbal altercations between Green and his teammates are commonplace with the Warriors, and clearly did not stand in the way of their championship run last year. While they should never reach the level of physical violence, Green has apologized for allowing that to occur, and the team should be able to move forward.
What does history tell us?
This era of Golden State Warriors basketball is frequently compared to Michael Jordan’s dynasty Chicago Bulls.
Coincidentally, current Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was a member of those Chicago teams, and was involved in a physical encounter with Michael Jordan. Before the 1995-1996 season began, Jordan punched Kerr in the face during a heated practice altercation. The team then went on to win another championship, and the fight became a non-issue.
While fans can debate the difference in talent between these Warriors and those Bulls, the 95-96 Bulls were in a similar spot in their dynasty to where the Warriors are now. A physical altercation between two players did not stop their title pursuit, and while Jordan admits he was wrong for punching Kerr, it didn’t stop his sharpshooting teammate from coming up big throughout the year.
Looking specifically at these Warriors, and even closer at Draymond Green, the team had an even more public incident just three years ago between Green and Kevin Durant. While there was no physicality involved, Green infamously told Durant to leave in free agency, and that Golden State didn’t need him. While that situation was handled poorly by the team, the Warriors still won the West, and would have probably won the title had Durant not gotten injured.
This fight between Green and Poole is unfortunate. It should not have happened, but it also won’t stop Golden State from being dominant this season.