Warriors’ player development coach Willie Green respected for playing background

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DETROIT — This marked a homecoming for Willie Green, though those on the Warriors teased him for the University of Detroit Mercy not providing enough mementos to document his history here.

So as the Warriors (20-6) completed a light practice here on Thursday in preparation for Friday’s game against the Detroit Pistons (14-10), some on the Warriors asked one question. Where is Greens’ jersey on the rafters?

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It seems inevitable that will happen since Green remains the program’s fourth all-time leading scorer (1,779 points) and guided the Titans to two 20-win seasons and postseason appearances in four years.

“It’s not something I’m pressing for,” Green said. “I had a great career here and had a lot of fun. I played with a lot of great players and great coaching staff. This is my family. So when that time comes, it’ll come.”

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Instead, Willie Green has more important things to worry about in his second year as a Warriors’ assistant/player development coach.

“Really just observe and learn; that’s my role right now,” Green said. “Be observant and be a sponge. See places where I integrate small information to the guys and continue to develop relationships with these guys.”

It sounds like the approach has worked.

“Willie’s the best. He is a great teammate and a great person to be around,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s quietly intelligent. He only speaks when he has something important to say. That’s a really good quality.”

Kerr has seen other good qualities in Green, too. At 36 and only three years removed from the NBA, Green can still scrimmages in games of three-on-three with the Warriors’ players. He offers insight on player matchups. He relates to players with fluctuating playing time after having a similar role with Philadelphia (2003-10), New Orleans (2010-11), Atlanta (2011), the Los Angeles Clippers (2012-14) and Orlando (2014-15).

“I think I can feel what some of the guys are going through, whether it’s joy or struggle. I’ve had a lot of different roles in the NBA,” Green said. “I started, came off the bench and had multiple games where I didn’t play at all where I wasn’t part of the rotation. So I understand when they’re going through those type of situations. I can kind of help them navigate through it and still remain positive.”

Green kept that mindset while averaging 8.3 points on a 42.5 percent mark from the field and a 34.6 percent …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News


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