LAS VEGAS — It may not be the NBA Finals, but Golden State is ready to win a championship.
The Warriors earned a spot in the 2013 NBA Summer League championship game by beating the Charlotte Bobcats 75-67 in the semifinals on Sunday.
Draymond Green — the only Warrior in Vegas with a guaranteed contract for next season — finished the night with a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double behind Cameron Jones’ game-high 16 points.
Green has embraced the Summer League experience as a chance to get better at things that he doesn’t get to work on with guys like Stephen Curry or David Lee on the floor; ball handling and finding open teammates have been a priority for him.
He said he knows his percentages are down and what he’s working on doesn’t show up in the stats, but he’s not discouraged because he’s working on new and different things:
“I’m taking shots that I may not have the opportunity to take during the regular season, but if I work on them and get better then I may get that opportunity. Right now is the time to work on it.”
The last two Summer League games, Green has been frustrated and visibly unhappy, even telling SFBay he would have trouble sleeping after the way he played. He said the problem was he wasn’t playing with energy:
“I felt a lot better today. It wasn’t because I scored better or shot the ball a little better. The last two games, I can admit myself, I was dead. That’s not me. I’ll never be successful playing like that. I felt more like myself today.”
The championship game will be the Warriors’ third game in three days. Walking out of the locker room, almost every player — including Green — had ice around their knees or ankles due to the toll the Summer League takes on their bodies.
Green says playing consecutive days is a good learning experience for himself and the rookies and helps get them ready for what’s to come:
“Summer League is a grind. But playing three days in a row, guys have had to do that in the NBA before. Sometimes you get three games in four nights, so it just prepares you for the grind of the regular season.”
A lot of talk has surrounded Green this summer, who showed up in Vegas about 15 pounds lighter and noticeably more toned than what most remember at the end of the Warriors playoff run.
Green says that he doesn’t plan on taking much time off before getting back at it and ready for the upcoming season:
“I’m going to take a couple days off because we haven’t had a day off since we’ve been here. After a couple days off I’ll get back in the gym and get ready for September.”
The Warriors and Phoenix Suns will face off in the first ever Summer League Championship game Monday at 6 p.m., but Green says even though he wants to win, he’s keeping his mind on improving:
“We want to win, and we’re still winning, but at the end of the day it’s about getting better. We just have to come out with energy and effort and see where it takes us.”