SAN FRANCISCO — Draymond Green was going all out after Warriors’ practice on Sunday afternoon. Drills run with assistant coach Jacob Rubin were interrupted by check-ins testing his balance with Rick Celebrini, the director of sports medicine and performance.
Green is questionable to play in the Warriors’ regular season opener against the Phoenix Suns and old teammate Kevin Durant on Tuesday, but he’s made progress in practice. Green missed all five of the preseason games and most of training camp nursing a left ankle sprain sustained the week before camp began. He recently started practicing with the team, doing 3-on-3 work earlier this week and participated in a brief 5-on-5 scrimmage on Sunday.
Green’s presence back in scrimmage was felt.
“It’s good for him and great for us to have him back,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “He adds such a competitive force to our team and his IQ is off the charts, so even having him in practice going through all the drills, the team benefits from his presence.”
Kerr added that Green isn’t in full playing shape and still needs to build his stamina.
“He needs more work, for sure,” he said.
The Warriors could use Green’s defensive savvy as soon as possible; if preseason is any indication, despite the 4-1 record in the exhibition games, the Warriors may struggle to keep the fouls and turnovers — and the poor defense that comes as a result of the frantic turnovers — at a minimum as they learn to work together with Chris Paul in the fold. Kerr attests they don’t have a full grasp of how good they can be on either end without Green in the mix.
“I think at times our shell is great, at times our shell isn’t there,” Green said. “At times when we have certain groups on the floor they are communicating and other groups aren’t quite communicating. Obviously that’s something I can help with on that side of things, making sure everyone is comfortable and that’s something that we have to be better at.”
Green called on Kevon Looney to talk more on defense, saying he’s become a focal point of their defensive scheme and should embrace his high IQ.
“I want to say this publicly because I know he can handle it,” Green said. “He knows every single thing, so it’s going to be important for us to hear his voice more because everyone on the court feels good when they hear the big’s voice.”