The play, but more specifically, the demeanor of Draymond Green in this year’s NBA playoffs has been fascinating to me.
Coming out of Michigan State, Green was undersized, overweight and a fringe NBA player. He developed from a late second-round draft pick to become an NBA All-Star for the Golden State Warriors. His competitive force is what set him apart. Green’s motor and intensity have always been his greatest assets — but as is true with most of our strengths — there’s a weakness on their backside. Green’s competitiveness often led to loss of control and combativeness, even toward his own teammates and coaches. In a pivotal game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals, Green couldn’t play because he was suspended by the league for accumulating too many (7) technical fouls during the playoffs. This past regular season was no different, evidenced in a spat with teammate Kevin Durant, leading to another suspension.
In this year’s postseason, however, we’ve seen a different Draymond Green. His numbers have gone up across the board, but it’s his poise that is most notably different. What’s remarkable is the fact that he’s been more disciplined and under control while not forfeiting what makes him great – his passion! Green said it best himself: “It’s all about, ‘Is [the fire] working for me or is it working against me? When I’m channeling it to work for me, I think I’m one of the baddest motherf—ers on the planet. When it gets the best of me, I’m not so good.”
Playing to our strengths is key to maximizing our impact. Understanding where our strengths make us vulnerable is every bit as important. I believe growth in this area begins by developing greater self-awareness. Take a minute to think about what gives you your edge. What makes you unique and valuable to your team, organization, family, etc.? Now look at that strength from all angles. Have a close friend or colleague help you out. Directing your focus on the positives while understanding the drawbacks will enable you to lead yourself and others more effectively.
After winning Game 3 in the Western Conference Finals, Warriors coach Steve Kerr likened Draymond Green to a “wrecking ball” and said, “He was destroying everything in his path.” That has always been Green’s style, but further in the press conference Kerr goes on to say “(Green’s) playing with force. He’s playing with discipline. He’s playing under control. He’s not letting anything bother him…Officiating, bad shots, turnovers. He’s just moving onto the next play.” That’s a testament to the maturation of Green and why his strengths are more impactful now than ever.