Draymond Green and Marcus Smart exchange praise ahead of Warriors-Celtics NBA Finals

Neither the Warriors nor the Boston Celtics are running out of power in a heavyweight NBA Finals game that will feature Steph Curry and Jayson Tatum.

But both teams also have players who excel in intangibles and make a huge difference beyond the stat sheet. They need no introduction, but Draymond Green and Marcus Smart play key roles for their respective teams on the show.

On Wednesday, the day before Game 1, Green and Smart complimented each other. Asked about Smart, Green told reporters he admires the way the Celtics goaltender thinks about basketball.

“You can see it in the way he plays, the way he teaches guys, the way he gets attention in the caucuses and goes through the Xs and O’s in the caucuses,” Green said. “You see everything.”

Green might as well have been talking about himself. He added that people tend to forget that Smart’s No. 1 attribute coming out of college was his leadership and his ability to be a real playmaker.

Smart has also been involved in some controversial moments and played throughout his career – including one this season which injured Curry. Green attributed Smart’s “bad reputation” early in his career to his growth as a leader.

“I think he continued to grow in his leadership,” Green said. “I think there were times earlier in his career when most people didn’t know how to deal with that, and then you end up getting a bad rap and going, ‘Oh, this guy is overdoing it, he does a lot of that too. He continued to be the leader he became, and it was really good to watch.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr also directly made the Smart-Green comparison on Wednesday. Kerr coached Smart as part of the USA national team at the 2019 FIBA ​​World Cup and he saw the similarities.

RELATED: Why Marcus Smart Holds the Key to Celtics Banner 18 Victory

“He’s just all over the defensive,” Kerr said. “Really, really smart. Anticipate the games. Includes angles. The versatility to keep 1 to 5. It’s all there. So there’s a reason he won Defensive Player of the Year. He’s a great, great defender and probably an underrated attacking player as well.

When told that Kerr compared him to Green, Smart totally agreed.

“It’s a great comparison,” Smart said. “It’s an honor to be compared to a guy of Draymond’s caliber – a champion, a great point guard, a great defender. It does what it does very well. I like looking at myself like this. I’m definitely taking notes from Draymond, the way he directs and the way he plays the game.”

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