For Draymond Green, the threshold for the word rivalry is high.
Many people consider the Warriors-Clippers matchup during the end of the Mark Jackson era and the beginning of the Steve Kerr era a rivalry. They were two up-and-coming teams in the Western Conference at the same time, and faced each other in a hotly contested seven-game playoff series.
Still, Green doesn’t think that matchup qualified as a rivalry, and he doesn’t think the Warriors-Grizzlies counts as one now. He explained why on the “Unfiltered with Complex Sports” podcast on Thursday.
“Is it a rivalry? No way. Absolutely not,” Green said. “You know what that reminds me of? That reminds me of when they were trying to make it out that the Warriors and the [Los Angeles] Clippers were a rivalry back in 2014, ’15 and ’16. That was never a rivalry.
“And by the way, at one point in that, we were the up-and-coming young fellas. Even then, that wasn’t a rivalry. Nobody had won anything! So how was it a rivalry? And [the Grizzlies] haven’t won anything so it’s impossible for that to be a rivalry. Who was a rivalry was us and the [Cleveland Cavaliers]. That was a rivalry. You don’t just get ‘rivalry’ because you played a good regular season game or two. Let’s not lessen the standards of rivalries.”
By that logic, the Cavs would be the only rivals the Warriors have ever had during their championship era, since both teams won the title vs. each other. It would be interesting to hear if Green considered the James Harden Rockets a rival, considering the two teams faced each other four times in the postseason in five years. The Warriors did win every series, however, making the matchup one-sided.
To Green, the fact that there has been a significant amount of trash talk between the Warriors and Grizzlies over the last couple years doesn’t change his calculation for defining what a rivalry is.
Rivalry or not, everyone is looking forward to the two teams facing each other on Dec. 25 at Chase Center.