Bring on The Brow: Draymond calls for more minutes at center against Pelicans


NEW ORLEANS -- Draymond Green came away from the Warriors’ loss in Game 3 Friday night making a pitch for more minutes at center. After sleeping on the possibility, the power forward felt no different.

He’s willing to embrace the burden as early as Sunday afternoon, when the Warriors and Pelicans meet for Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals.

And he’ll go beyond that, if it’s the best option for the Warriors.

“We’re trying to win a championship. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” Green said after practice Saturday. “I don’t mind being a little banged up; you’re never 100 percent anyway. And then after you win a championship, it’s all worth it and you have the rest of the summer to recover.”

As Green was speaking, three different parts of his body were being wrapped with ice packs, one on each knee and another on a right shoulder that has been tender since last October.

No matter.

Though Warriors coach Steve Kerr has been secretive about his lineups, offering a different surprise for each of the first three games, Green’s push for more time at center is not without merit.

For one, he’s their most effective defender against Pelicans big man Anthony Davis.

For two, placing Green at center allows Kerr to unlock the “Hamptons 5,” aka the “Death Lineup,” with Kevin Durant moving up to power forward, Andre Iguodala leaving the bench to start at small forward, with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson at guards.

Kerr likes to use that group judiciously, largely because at 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, Green is always coping with bigger, stronger players in the paint and it takes a lot out of him. Davis, for example, is 6-10, 253 pounds.

“There is concern. There’s a lot of concern,” Kerr said. “But I still could do it. It’s plausible.”

That group in the regular season posted an offensive rating of 124.7, which was as impressive as its 116.3 defensive rating was unimpressive.

Green believes the defensive number was influenced by several factors, most notably lack of minutes as a group.

“We haven’t seen much of it this year,” he said. “We’ve had guys in and out of the lineup all year, so we haven’t really seen much of it this year.

“I still think it’s scary though. I do think that.”

Another quintet actually was more effective at both ends, posting a 127.4 rating on offense and a 79.4 rating on defense. That one featured Curry and Thompson at guards, Green and Durant at forwards, with Kevon Looney at center.

One of these two lineups likely will start Game 4, even though Kerr’s lips were zipped on Saturday.

“Answering the question in general terms, this series is pretty unique because they play so small and our bench is filled with centers,” he said. “It’s the first series I can remember where we haven’t really been able to go 10 or even 11 deep, since I’ve been here.”

The Warriors can play small, like to play small, but have a lot of big bodies. Most of those big bodies are poor matchups for the Pelicans.

Green has made his pitch. We’ll know Sunday if the coach is buying.

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