Draymond Green

Draymond doesn't regret Gobert chokehold but knows he must be better

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Draymond Green broke his silence Sunday on his latest suspension, talking with local reporters for more than 20 minutes after Warriors practice at Chase Center.

While images of Green choking Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert on Nov. 14 shocked the NBA world, the Warriors forward made it clear he wouldn't change anything about how the situation unfolded.

"I don't live my life with regrets," Green said. "Like I said before, I'll come to a teammate's defense anytime that I'm in a position to come to a teammate's defense. That's what a team is. You stick together through the good and the bad and I take that to heart. I take pride in being a good teammate. That's when I step in here every single day. That's No. 1 on my list, to be a good teammate."

The incident, which happened less than two minutes into the Warriors-Timberwolves game 12 days ago at Chase Center, began when Warriors guard Klay Thompson and Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels tussled, leading to all the players on the court converging into a melee.

As Gobert began to engage Thompson, Green swooped in and put Minnesota's big man in a headlock, holding it for several seconds before he was pried off Gobert.

Green, Thompson and McDaniels all were ejected from the game.

A day later, the NBA handed Green a five-game suspension, again determining his prior transgressions played a part in the lengthy discipline. Thompson, McDaniels and Gobert each were fined $25,000 for their roles in the altercation.

"They've made it clear that they're going hold everything against me that I've done before," Green said. "They've made that clear and that's OK. I need to address where I see fit and where my teammates see fit, where my coaches see fit, where our front office sees fit, the people that I care about that, I trust that, when I hear them say something, it means something to me and that's all the people that's in here in this grind every day.

"I think the consensus amongst all of us is I'm going to be me no matter what and that's not going to change. But in saying that there's always a better way that something can be done and so figuring out a better way I think is the consensus amongst all of us. But I cannot play the game of basketball like, 'Oh man, I can't do this because they're probably looking at it.' They're going to do what they're going to do regardless. And I'm not going to play basketball worried about what they're going do.

"I want to play basketball the way I play basketball, the way I play basketball has gotten me here. The way I play basketball has brought me a tremendous amount of success, individually and from a team standpoint. So I'm going to always be myself and not changing that. But like I said, I do understand and know that there's room for growth, there are different ways to handle things and I need to be better in those moments, in different situations."

Green knows he's being judged by the NBA's unofficial "Draymond Rules," fair or not. His past always will play a part in any future punishment.

But Green also isn't going to waste time worrying about how the NBA hands out suspensions or fines to other players involved in other incidents.

"I'm not really one to sit and compare myself to other players because they're not me and I'm not them," Green said. "So I'm not one to say, 'Oh man, you didn't do that to that guy.' That's also hating and where I grew up, you don't sit and talk about what another man got or he didn't get this or he got that. Why I did not get that? I don't compare myself to other people or myself. So I never look at it in that light."

Even though Green understands and accepts that the NBA will use his past against him, he also made it clear Sunday that he already has paid the price for those prior altercations.

"To continue mentioning like, 'Oh, well, what he did in the past…' I paid for those, like I got suspended in Game 5 of the Finals," Green said, noting his 2016 NBA Finals suspension for hitting then-Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James below the belt. "So you can't keep suspending me for those actions. But in saying that I'm also not one to admit when I'm at fault. It is what it is. I think, for me, anytime there's a situation and a teammate needs you to come to their defense, I'm going come to their defense and that's just that, especially with someone that I've been playing with for 12 years. That's more than a teammate. That's a brother."

While Green was there for Thompson in a tough moment, his actions meant he wasn't there for the Warriors over the last five games, a span in which they went 2-3.

As for the Warriors, who enter Tuesday's NBA In-Season Tournament West Group C finale with an 8-9 overall record, the most important thing for both Green and the team is his availability.

After starting the season 6-2, the Warriors have struggled mightily over the last nine games, of which Green has missed six, whether for suspension or for unspecified personal reasons.

"I think for me personally, I have to be on the court for my teammates," Green said. "Our chances of winning drops dramatically if I'm not out there, so I have to be better at being there and as one of the leaders of this group, you just got to find different ways. I think for me that's the biggest lesson in all of it is just like, yeah, you got to be there for your teammate, but you have to do it differently, the same way you would do something when I was 26, I can't do it at 33."

The good news for the Warriors is that they'll get Green back on Tuesday in Sacramento. He has been able to scrimmage with the team and play 3-on-3 during practice, so he won't have any physical limitations, as he would if he were coming back from an injury and wasn't in game-shape.

The Warriors and Dub Nation have learned to accept the downside of Green because they know all the good he can bring.

But now he understands he has to control his emotions for the betterment of the Warriors.

"That's kind of what it boils down to," Green said. "And so I can be better there and I will continue to grow through different things that you go through in life and that's what I try to do with these situations.

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