The Warriors have reached the NBA Finals six times in eight years, with four of those Finals matchups being against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now one win away from hoisting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, Green gave insight into who gave him the most challenges mentally, in the NBA Finals.
Green was asked by a reporter where would the Boston Celtics rank, in terms of him needing to prepare in advance for the possible moves the team could make during each game, to which Green responded:
"“It doesn’t compare to mentally playing against LeBron James, who I think is arguably the smartest guy to ever play this game,” Green said. “Not one of, he is arguably the smartest guy to set foot on a basketball court. To say that it compares to that, it’s disrespectful to LeBron, and it’s a lie to you.”"
Draymond Green feels Lakers’ LeBron James is more of a threat mentally than Celtics
During the interview, Green continued to speak on the mental challenge of facing LeBron James compared to facing Boston
"“[This is] not as much of a chess match as it is when you’re playing LeBron, who is dissecting every play in that computer of his, like in real time,” Green said. “Like that’s just a skill that not many people possess. Not many people can come and sit here and find a random stretch from seven minutes to four minutes in the second quarter and give you every play like to the T and not miss a beat. There’s not many people that can do that."
Green has not been shy about giving LeBron praise. Having faced him four times in the Finals, Green knows what he is capable of. LeBron has been in the league for 19 years and he knows what adjustments should be made, due to him having more playoff appearances than anyone else.
On the other hand, the Celtics are a young team. This is the first time the trio of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart has reached the NBA Finals.
Even though they have played in a ton of playoff games together and reached the Eastern Conference Finals twice, before this season, Green still does not think they pose the same mental challenge as LeBron.
However, he does feel that Boston creates a challenge in a different way.
"“Now in saying that, it is a challenge mentally because these guys are super athletic. They are super young and fast and strong, and all the things that we know and have heard throughout the course of this series. They are those things. And then obviously they are super talented, and so when you are facing that, you have to try to out-think a guy. If a guy is faster than me, how can I beat him to a spot? I have to anticipate and I have to think. I have to try to understand what he’s trying to get to. So I think that’s been huge in this series from a mental standpoint and just trying to understand and be a step ahead of them.”"
The Los Angeles Lakers can be interested in Gary Trent Jr. as much as they want; the team does not nearly have enough to trade for him.
Green believes the Celtics’ athletic abilities create challenges for him but once he figures out how to outthink them then the challenge is gone.
The Warriors now have a chance to close out the series against the Celtics. Game 6 tips off tonight in Boston at 9 p.m. ET.