Draymond Green Brings Nothing To ‘Inside The NBA’


It’s possible that the Inside the NBA crew is in its final postseason together, with the scuttlebutt that NBC has outbid Warner Bros. Discovery to get in on the next NBA TV deal. While the nostalgia cycle for the “Roundball Rock” era has already started, as have the eulogies for the current era, the bosses at TNT Sports have come up with a shrewd move to help soften the blow: Make the desk worse by bringing in Draymond Green.

Green has been in the TNT orbit for a few years now, occasionally joining the desk from time to time, working this season’s All-Star Game, and running his weird little mini-documentary about how Falcon-punching his younger teammate was a test of adversity to bravely overcome. The 34-year-old Warriors forward is clearly positioning himself for a post-career tour of duty in sports media. Why else would he break out the podcasting rig hours after losing a playoff game if he wasn’t truly committed to getting these takes off? It makes some sense; he has a defined personality and knows ball.

On the other hand, Green is best known for melting down and hurting his opponents. Also, his podcast sucks. He seems to view Inside The NBA not as a source of basketball analysis, but as a platform from which to be dismissive and settle scores. When Bulls guard Alex Caruso came on the show on Wednesday and mentioned what a bummer it was that his teammates Coby White and DeMar DeRozan both finished as runners-up in two NBA end-of-season awards, Green butted in and smirked that DeRozan couldn’t have won Clutch Player of the Year because his team didn’t win enough. Barkley correctly pointed out that Green’s team was unceremoniously ejected from the play-in.

Also on Wednesday, when the show interviewed Jayson Tatum after the Celtics advanced past the Cavaliers, Green managed to belittle the Timberwolves, Pacers, Thunder, and Al Horford in the course of asking one question, which Tatum artfully sidestepped.

Worst of all, Green was permitted to analyze the play of Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert, a man he put in a chokehold in a game this past November. Green has harbored a grudge against Gobert for years. He transparently does not like or respect him. While it’s not the job of a studio analyst to be even-keeled and rational at all times, it’s hard to glean any useful insight from his analysis of the Nuggets-Wolves series when the only real message he wants to communicate is This guy sucks. You can also find that in the comment section of any NBA Instagram post.

The strength of Inside the NBA is the crew’s willingness to get weird and do bits. The desk dynamic can produce occasional moments of comedic genius, like the time Chuck complained about Shaquille O’Neal getting praise for reading off of a teleprompter then immediately stumbled over his words, when Shaq pushed the outer limits of mathematics with his bonkers gas-filling strategy, or when Shaq opined that the Moon is roughly twice as far from Atlanta as California is. It’s the proper combination of self-deprecation and old-man grouchiness, with Ernie Johnson serving as an effective moderator and Kenny Smith as the teacher’s pet. There are a lot of 2012-era reaction GIFs in 144p and the occasional low-energy sourness that can make the show corny and occasionally unwatchable, but for the most part, it works.

And it works because they can laugh at themselves. Chuck and Shaq are always jabbing each other, but they take their in-studio beef exactly as seriously as they should. When Shaq wants to settle a score nobody else cares about, or bring Nikola Jokic on after he won MVP specifically to tell him he shouldn’t have won MVP, the rest of the group can move the show along. You don’t need one more guy who does the same thing, but worse.

Green is on the desk for the wrong reasons, and he simply doesn’t have the juice. He’s not funny, and he can’t contain an ounce of his competitive nature. It’s a letdown to come off the high of something like Jokic’s Game 5 masterpiece and get to Green smirking and talking about how other teams are cooked, as if he isn’t in the studio because the Warriors were play-in chum. Stop trying to relitigate the 2017-18 DPOY vote; the game’s on.

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