Draymond Green is drawing critcism for Inside the NBA stint

Tony Nguyen | Golden State Warriors
May 18, 2024
  1. Draymond Green did an extended guest appearance on “Inside the NBA” this week, but just like on the court, he couldn’t stop taking shots at Rudy Gobert.

After Minnesota lost Game 5 of their second-round series to the Denver Nuggets, while Nikola Jokic scored 40 points, Green had harsh criticism for Gobert’s defense on the league MVP. He also declared that the Minnesota Timberwolves no longer believed that they could win against the Nuggets, concluding, “This series is over.”

Minnesota proceeded to win Game 6 by 45 points.

Look, it’s not at all disqualifying that Green made an incorrect prediction on “Inside the NBA.” Charles Barkley’s guarantees are usually wrong. He went 10-15 in the 2021 playoffs, 3-9 last May, and last week declared that the Timberwolves would sweep the Nuggets.

The problem is that Green clearly holds an enormous grudge against Gobert, which has been going on for years. This season, Green got an ejection and a five-game suspension for putting Gobert in a headlock and dragging him down the court. Part of it is resentment for Gobert winning so many Defensive Player of the Year awards, but some of it is simply personal dislike.

After Minnesota swept the Phoenix Suns in the first round, Green actually complimented Gobert, sort of, declaring that “Rudy actually not trash anymore.” Of course, that was in service to ripping a different Western Conference center, Jusuf Nurkic, who Green also assaulted on the court to draw a long suspension.

It’s simply not interesting to hear Green use a national television platform to air his petty grudges, especially since those grudges are about players that he hit and choked! Is he mad that Nurkic’s face got in the way of his fist? It’s reminiscent of how Green continually brought up slugging Jordan Poole in practice, even after he avoided punishment and the Warriors traded Poole off the team.

Maybe that’s something that fans of “The Draymond Green Show” want, but not fans of “Inside,” a show whose core fundamentals include having a sense of humor about yourself and the NBA. Look at how Green behaves during the “Know Your Rodent” segment on “Inside.”

Animal experts on late-night television should be, well, a slam dunk. The capybara and the porcupine are doing all the work for you! The only requirement is to not stand as far away from the animals as possible with your back to the camera, complaining, “I thought we were going to talk about basketball.” Which is what Green did.

It’s a shame because the topic of how to guard Nikola Jokic is something Green knows a lot about! He should have a ton of insight about the best way to guard the three-time MVP, what you do to counter his passing, where the Timberwolves are falling short in post defense, etc.

Instead, the TNT audience is getting the same “LOL Gobert” takes they’d get from Twitter. And probably from me, too, but I didn’t successfully defend Jokic in a playoff series. “LOL Gobert” is all I have!

It’s not going over well with the public, either.

Green signed a multi-year deal with TNT in January 2022 that looked like a masterful move by Turner at the time. Since then, Green has:

  • Been ejected from a playoff game against Memphis
  • Punched Jordan Poole in training camp
  • Got a one-game suspension for his 16th technical, for throwing the ball off Russell Westbrook’s head
  • Been ejected from a playoff game and suspended for stomping on Domantas Sabonis
  • Drawn a five-game suspension for choking Gobert
  • Drawn an indefinite suspension for punching Nurkic
  • Made Steph Curry cry by getting ejected four minutes into a game against Orlando.

Now that TNT is in danger of losing the rights to the NBA, perhaps Green’s contract doesn’t matter as much. But aside from his added notoriety in the past two seasons, it simply feels like Green isn’t as fun as he used to be on TV. He’s still very natural on camera and he still has great insights about basketball. However, that seems like it’s been replaced by insecurity, bragging and bitterness that wasn’t there previously. Watch how embarrassed everyone on set gets when Green starts insisting he can stop Jokic.

One of Green’s hallmarks when he became a go-to guest for TNT was his honesty. Now it feels like his insights are outweighed by self-serving commentary and attempts to settle scores with rivals. It’s as if Draymond Green no longer truly believes in Draymond Green.

Barkley racked up a lot of technicals in his career and got into plenty of fights, but the difference is that Barkley was willing to laugh at himself, and own up to mistakes. Green simply doesn’t seem comfortable enough with himself to do that.

If the TNT deal is moot, will networks be clamoring to hire Green after his playing career ends? He certainly has the analytical chops, but he’s reached the point where he’s outright hated by a huge number of basketball fans. He’ll still have his podcast and the hot take economy will reliably regurgitate his most outlandish statements. But the idea that he’ll have an extended, Barkley-like career seems more and more improbable every time he’s on television again.