Izzo ‘disappointed' by Draymond flipping off Grizzlies fans


Draymond Green is one of Michigan State coach Tom Izzo's greatest success stories.

Izzo is extremely proud of the Warriors' star and attends quite a few NBA games to watch his former pupil.

But Green made his former college coach cringe when he flipped off Memphis Grizzlies fans during the first quarter of the Warriors' 106-101 loss in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals on Tuesday night at FedExForum. Green had just taken an elbow to the face from fellow former Spartan Xavier Tillman and needed stitches to close the wound under his right eye.

"I was disappointed in that," Izzo told Damon Bruce and Ray Ratto on 95.7 The Game on Friday. "I don't want that because he's a funny guy, as tough as he is, as outspoken as he is, has a heart as big as a lion. One of those guys need him and he's going to be there for them. And that's what I think sometimes gets in the crosshairs when he does something like that."

The NBA fined Green $25,000 for his gesture towards Grizzlies fans.

Green giving Grizzlies fans the double bird wasn't his first run-in with the Memphis crowd. During the Warriors' Game 1 win, he was ejected for a questionable Flagrant Foul Penalty 2 on Brandon Clarke. As he left the court for the locker room, Green ran around and taunted the patrons before leaving.

"Talking to Coach [Steve] Kerr during the year, I think [Green has] I guess matured, if that's what you want to call it," Izzo said. "So I don't know. There's been a couple of things here. I'm not sure if the flagrant foul could be looked at that way but he got clocked pretty good [in Game 2], he was upset. You get there and the boo Steph Curry a little bit but he's the best player. But nobody gets booed like Draymond. So I imagine that gets under your skin a little bit too.

"But I hope he learns how to deal with those distractions. I think those distractions do hurt him and he's a very cerebral player, he wears his emotions on his sleeve but he cares. I think sometimes that causes him a turnover or two that he shouldn't have. So I hope he just focuses in on playing basketball, don't worry about all the other things. Being at home might help that."

The Warriors have been living with the good and bad sides of Green for years. He has gotten called for his share of flagrant and technical fouls but his contributions towards winning games is immeasurable.

Green's upbringing in Saginaw, Michigan as well as his underdog status as a second-round draft pick by the Warriors has helped him develop into one of the most impactful players in the NBA, even if he doesn't stuff the stat sheet.

"You can't just love him for some of the things he does," Izzo said. "You've got to look at him and say 'Hey, that chip that he plays with on his shoulder sometimes gets him in trouble, but a lot of times, it makes who he is.' And that's who he is."

For as much as Green might be hated for opposing fan bases, every team would love to have a player like him on their roster, and Izzo knows all too well that it isn't easy to find guys like the Warriors' heart and soul.

"I know this," Izzo told Bruce and Ratto. "I'm looking for one of those guys every day. I hope he doesn't double-bird anybody, the guy I find. But I'm looking for a guy that does 90 percent of what Draymond can do, his intelligence, his toughness, his ability to defend without even getting a steal. He takes the game away from people by his positioning. And then his screening and passing is unbelievable at times."

RELATED: Green reacts to Brooks' suspension for Game 3

The good news for Green is that the second-round series against the Grizzlies has shifted back to the Bay Area for the next two games, beginning with Game 3 on Saturday night at Chase Center, so he won't have to worry about rowdy Memphis fans getting under his skin.

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