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Why Ezeli is confident Draymond-JP relationship can be fixed

Former Warrior Festus Ezeli explained why he believes the beef between Draymond Green and Jordan Poole eventually can be squashed.

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The Warriors have their hands full with a number of significant decisions to make this NBA offseason, but one of the most important comes from within.

The 2022-23 preseason altercation between Draymond Green and Jordan Poole admittedly took a toll on Golden State's title defense efforts. It's something the team will prioritize this summer, and former Warrior turned NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Festus Ezeli believes they can work through it.

"I really do believe that everyone deserves a second chance and I believe you can always rebuild whatever you've broken," Ezeli said on the latest "Dubs Talk" episode. "But it takes time. That's why I think this summer is so huge for the Warriors. The punch, the incident at practice, that stuff happens all the time. People fight. It was the timing. It was the people who it was between. It's an older leader of a team with a young, upcoming star. It was a contract year. All the speculation you see in the media, all that stuff doesn't help. And then top it all off with the fact that the whole public got to watch this and make whatever decisions or judgments they could make about this situation without really knowing all the facts.

"So having to sit there as a young guy, or even as an old guy, it's mentally draining to be asked that every day. You go to practice, you pass the ball in the game, you don't pass the ball, if you get an assist, it's 'Did he pass it to Draymond? Oh, he missed it? What does that mean for the future of the team?' That's mentally exhausting for a team. So I felt like after a while, it just wore the team out."

The punch, which was captured on video and leaked to TMZ, occurred back in October. After a few days, both Poole and Green said they had moved on from the situation and were ready to just get to work on the hardwood.

They embraced publicly. They high-fived. They shook hands.

Seven months later, Golden State's season came to an end following a second-round playoff exit at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers.

And when you look back and take a deeper look at the Warriors' season, it's crystal clear that the team chemistry was off.

Still, Ezeli has high hopes, not only for the relationship between the two, but for Poole's future in the league.

"They're constantly having to fight battles before they come into the game. I think it wore the team out, but it especially wore Jordan Poole out," Ezeli continued. "A guy who is super talented. I mean he averaged 20 points in the NBA as a young 23-year-old. That's a big deal. I think he's a future All-Star in the NBA. That's my projection for Jordan Poole. And he brings a different versatility to this team. The speed, the quickness.

"... I thought that this team did not have the right environment for Jordan Poole to really thrive under the leadership of Draymond, Steph and Klay. There was already that adversity, all that stuff going on in the background. how they can fix it? I think this summer is going to be big for team chemistry. I think they have to figure out how they can get together for a second and really just squash the beef."

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Rebuilding is never easy. But Green knows it's on him to lead the charge in those efforts.

And hopefully for the Warriors, with a new season comes new beginnings for the two teammates while the team can focus on what they've done over the last decade: Winning.

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