CLEVELAND — Draymond Green has never been shy to speak his mind. And after winning his fourth career NBA title earlier this month, the Golden State Warriors forward is seemingly especially talkative.
That was apparent on Monday night, as Green -- who is the host of "The Draymond Green Show" on Volume Sports -- hosted a joint episode with "The Old Man and The Three" alongside J.J. Redick and Tommy Alter. Over the course of the 84-minute episode, the four-time All-Star weighed in on a number of topics, including Kevin Durant's impact on the rivalry between the Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"I don't think that team wins another championship if Kevin doesn't come [to Golden State]," Green said. "Now you might say, 'but y'all won the fourth [title] without Kevin.' But there's a gap in there where teams started to figure us out."
While Green was adamant that the Warriors still would have beaten the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference -- "Yeah, we was beating them for sure. That team was never going to beat us," Green said dismissively -- he admitted that he believes that Golden State would have lost to the Cavs in the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals had Durant not signed with his team in 2016.
"We would not have beat the Cavs coming back around without Kevin," Green said. "And here's why: teams had figured us out and I personally don't think at that point, Steph Curry had figured out, 'I'm going to get a bucket whenever I want to.' I don't think he was capable of that yet. I think he was still growing into that. So because of that, once teams started to figure our offense out, we were starting to struggle more and more.
"If you watch the game, then you see that Steph's getting double-teamed and [former Cavs coach] Ty Lue then goes public and says, 'I'm double-teaming Steph every chance I get.' Kevin wasn't getting double-teamed, but the reality is we got to a point where we needed to be able to give somebody the ball that can just go get a bucket. And Kevin was already there. I don't think Steph was there yet."
Durant's decision to sign with the Warriors in 2016 was a polarizing one and came just weeks after the Cavs overcame a 3-1 series deficit to defeat Golden State in the NBA Finals. A year prior, the Warriors had defeated Cleveland in six games to win the 2015 NBA championship and went on to amass the best regular-season record in league history, 73-9, during the 2015-16 campaign.
But while Golden State already possessed a championship-caliber roster, an unprecedented spike in the salary cap gave the Warriors the ability to sign Durant, who is wildly considered one of the best players in the NBA. In three seasons in Golden State, the four-time scoring champ led the Warriors to two NBA titles -- both over the LeBron James-led Cavs -- earning NBA Finals MVP in both series.
Following the 2019 NBA Finals, which Golden State lost to the Toronto Raptors, Durant left the Warriors to sign with the Brooklyn Nets. Three years later, Golden State returned to the top of the NBA's hierarchy, defeating the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals as Curry earned his first career NBA Finals MVP.