Why Draymond Green doesn't believe Celtics' challenge compares to LeBron James

Why Draymond Green doesn’t believe Celtics’ challenge compares to LeBron James

For four straight years, Draymond Green and the Warriors had to figure out a way to beat a LeBron James-led team in the NBA Finals.

But they managed to do it three out of the four years before LeBron left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Those four Finals meetings in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 were all-out battles between one of the most talented rosters ever assembled and arguably the smartest player of this generation.

On Wednesday, ahead of Game 6 of the Finals against the Boston Celtics, Green was asked to compare the challenge presented by the Eastern Conference champions and those LeBron teams of past years. The Warriors’ star forward only answered the question after making it clear there is no comparison.

“Well, it doesn’t compare to mentally playing against LeBron James, who I think is arguably the smartest guy to ever play this game,” Green told reporters in Boston. “Not one of, he is arguably the smartest guy to set foot on a basketball court. To say that he compares to that, it’s disrespectful to LeBron and it’s a lie to you.

“Now in saying that, it is a challenge mentally because these guys are super athletic. They are super young and fast and strong, and all the things that we know and have heard throughout the course of this series. They are those things. And then obviously they are super talented, and so when you are facing that, you have to try to out-think a guy. If a guy is faster than me, how can I beat him to a spot? I have to anticipate and I have to think. I have to try to understand what he’s trying to get to. So I think that’s been huge in this series from a mental standpoint and just trying to understand and be a step ahead of them.”

The 2022 NBA Finals series has had its ebbs and flows before reaching it’s current state with the Warriors leading three-games-to-two with a chance to close it out Thursday night in Game 6.

Boston stole home-court away by rallying to win Game 1 in San Francisco and looked like they were in command when they won Game 3 on their home court in TD Garden to take a two-games-to-one lead.

But as has been seen with the Warriors over their eight-year dynastic run, no series is ever over until it’s actually done.

Green, coach Steve Kerr and the rest of the Warriors made their adjustments, pulled out a season-saving Game 4 win in Boston thanks for an iconic 43-point performance by Steph Curry, came home and won Game 5 behind Andrew Wiggins’ career game , swinging the momentum of the series to the point where the Celtics now are playing to save their season.

Despite everything that has happened over the last two weeks, Green just can’t compare what he is facing now to what he had to deal with in LeBron.

“Not as much of a chess match as it is when you’re playing LeBron, who is dissecting every play in that computer of his, like in real time,” Green said. “Like that’s just a skill that not many people possess. Not many people can come and sit here and find a random stretch from seven minutes to four minutes in the second quarter and give you every play like to the T and not miss a beat. There’s not many people who can do that.

“Now in saying that, they do have a guy over there in Marcus Smart who is extremely smart, who it’s like a chess match going up against him. He is kind of the brain of that team. I think every team you kind of have that guy, that’s the brain of that team, and they have that in Marcus Smart, a guy who I have a tremendous amount of respect for and his basketball IQ. [Celtics coach] Ime [Udoka] is extremely smart. We know his pedigree.

“So the challenge is there, but you can’t put it up there against LeBron’s. Like I said, he’s probably the smartest guy we’ve ever seen play basketball.”

RELATED: Warriors embrace final road trip with hopes of celebratory flight home

Green and the Warriors know the biggest “challenge” of this series awaits them. Closing out an opponent, especially on the road, is the hardest game of a series to win. And the Warriors surely want nothing to do with a Game 7 on Sunday. So they will do everything in their power to go into TD Garden and leave celebrating a fourth NBA title in eight seasons.

Green doesn’t want to compare the Celtics to LeBron, but it might be wise to envision James on the other side, just so the Warriors are thinking and processing at the highest level possible.

Download and follow the Dubs Talk Podcast

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *