Along with several others who were only privy to the report that Draymond Green had “forcefully struck” Jordan Poole during a Golden State Warriors practice, we determined on Thursday that the incident was not a major concern for the Warriors or their fans. Upon further review, now equipped with the video evidence, that was the incorrect take. This is a major issue in Golden State.
Our initial reaction, which was similar to many around the league, was also shared on Thursday by several others in the organization. Before the video was released by TMZ, few had actually seen what occurred between Green and Poole. This was confirmed in a report by Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic, who adamantly declared through sources that the video now changes everything.
“But on Friday morning, many watched the video and saw what happened for the first time, along with the rest of us,” Thompson II wrote. “Multiple sources said their view of the situation is altered. Seeing Green walking up on Poole with obvious bad intentions. Seeing him respond to a baited shove from Poole with a ready swing. Seeing how much venom was behind the punch. That wasn’t the Draymond they knew.”
Thompson II made this declaration after reporting what could be concluded from the video, that most people present did not actually see the punch. Now having seen it, everything changes. No longer able to frame this incident as something that simply went a step too far, the Warriors are now forced to face the reality that their emotional leader betrayed them.
The harsh reality for Golden State
Already stuck in a financial predicament, the Warriors have almost certainly been preparing for the inevitable departure of one of their core pieces. That said, the team was determined to defend their title this year, and cross that dreaded bridge when forced to next summer. Now less than two weeks from the regular season, the team is dealing with a potentially irreparable situation.
Had Green simply put his hands on Poole after some trash talk, discipline would have been warranted, but the situation would be easily mendable. As the video evidence shows, that was far from what took place. Green not only aggressively approached Poole, but he came chest to chest with the young guard, with his punch seemingly loaded for the inevitable push that would follow his instigation.
Can Jordan Poole forgive Green and attempt to move forward? Perhaps. Will Green’s voice amongst the team, especially the young players who haven’t been around him very long ever be the same? That’s harder to see. For a player whose value is so tied to leadership, this breach in trust changes everything. Green was supposed to be the player defending his teammates from the very behavior he expressed.
Having failed in this way, and to this degree, Draymond Green has lost the trust of his teammates, organization, and fanbase. While trust can be regained, Green isn’t in the most optimal decision to do that. Having already been operating in a way that was attempting to leverage the most money out of Golden State, Green has now lost that ability. He must now put his head down and play winning basketball. Even then, it may not be enough.