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Draymond Green: Competing for play-in playoff spot ‘doesn’t motivate me’

The Golden State Warriors are positioned to compete for a playoff spot in the NBA’s reformatted postseason format. However, three-time NBA champion Draymond Green scoffed at the notion that the league’s new play-in game for the playoffs motivates him when he steps on the court.

“I want to win every game I play because I hate losing,” Green said, per Nick Friedell of ESPN. “That s— really bothers me. So that’s what motivates me, not fighting for some play-in spot.”

Entering Friday’s game against the Toronto Raptors, the Warriors sit at 23-25 and slotted at No. 10 in the Western Conference. In previous years, that would leave the team on the fringes of playoff contention and chasing the No. 8 San Antonio Spurs (24-22) for the final spot in the postseason.

However, after the NBA changed the postseason format to allow more teams to remain in the playoff chase after a successful test run in the Orlando bubble, the Warriors are in the mix to participate in the play-in format.

Green apparently isn’t too pumped up about such a notion.

“No, it still won’t motivate me,” Green said. “I step on the court and I’m going to give 110 percent whether it’s the play-in game or not. But, no play-in game is going to motivate me at this point in my career. That’s just kind of what it is. Playoff basketball is definitely motivating, but a play-in game don’t motivate me. And that won’t change today, tomorrow, in a month or two months or two years from now.

“I want to win. That’s enough motivation for me, but I’m not going to spend every day like, ‘Man, we’re right on the cusp of that play-in’ — I don’t give a damn about that play-in game. If that’s where we are and we’re in the game, yeah, I’m going to do all I can to win the game. But, the play-in situation isn’t going to get me out of my bed like I got to bust my a– today because we’re fighting for the play-in spot. That ain’t going to push me.”

Under the new playoff format, the No. 7 seed plays the No. 10 seed and eighth-seeded team plays the ninth-seeded team in each conference in what’s termed as the pre-playoff bracket. The higher-seeded teams, No. 9 and No. 10, only need to win one game to punch its postseason ticket. The lower-seeded teams, meanwhile, No. 7 and No. 8, have to win two games in a row.

If the season ended Friday, the Warriors would play the Spurs and only need to win one game to qualify for the playoffs.

Still, Green remains underwhelmed by the situation created by the new play-in format.

“But I’ll be 100 percent honest with you, fighting for a play-in spot does not motivate me,” Green added. “We’re in what, [10th]? Fighting for a [play-in] spot doesn’t motivate me at all.”

While Green seems bullish on the new postseason format, his desire to win could certainly help the Warriors either remain slotted at No. 10 or perhaps even improve upon their placement … at least under ideal circumstances for Golden State.