By disrespecting Draymond Green as they did Wednesday night in Salt Lake City, the Utah Jazz may have done the Warriors a huge favor.
Green's 3-point shooting has been abysmal, and it got no better in a 108-103 loss to the Jazz. After missing his only two attempts from deep, he is 1-of-10 (10 percent) since returning from a toe injury last week, and 7-of-37 (18.9 percent) this season.
The Jazz completely disregarded Green's ability to score to such blatant degree, they practically dared him to shoot. Time and again, Green found himself with the ball at the top of arc and no defender within five feet.
Asked by reporters in Salt Lake City if he was frustrated with his shot, Green's response was very Draymond.
"I'm not," he said, "because I know it will fall at some point. It's probably a good thing, because that means people are going to keep playing me like this. Then when those mother----ers start falling, people are in trouble."
That's the Draymond the Warriors need. The guy that, six years later, still recites the names of the 34 players selected before him in the 2012. The guy that remembers every slight, every perceived slight and no doubt some imagined slights.
Disrespect, you see, is the food that nourishes his soul.
"I actually like it," Green said of the lax defense he saw. "People are starting to guard me like they used to, back in the day. So when they start falling ..."
Green entered the season as a lifetime 32.7-percent shooter from beyond the arc. Since shooting a career-high 38.8 percent from deep – proving he can make the shot – in 2015-16, he has tumbled to 30.8 percent and 30.1 percent the past two seasons.
But 20.9 percent? Shooting may be near the bottom of Green's priorities, but such a low percentage allows opponents to play 5-on-4 defense against his teammates.
That's what the Jazz did each time Green got the ball beyond the arc.
"We just want him to shoot," Kevin Durant said. "We'd love him to knock them down, but we just want him to be aggressive to shoot, to be aggressive to look for his shot a little bit more. Not just 3s, but his little floater that he shoots, his little midrange that he works on every day.
"We know his game is passing and defense, but we need him to score."
Green is averaging 6.4 points per game. And it's not just his 3-pointer that is missing. He's shooting 40.9 percent overall, the lowest since he became a full-time starter in 2014-15. Aside from those coast-to-coast, one-man fast breaks that so few other "big men" are capable of pulling off, Green is barely a threat to score.
On a team with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Durant, all Green needs to be is a threat and, voila, the designated shooters get more space.
By not being a threat Wednesday, Green's presence made the Jazz comfortable with sliding toward the other three All-Stars. They succeeded in taking away Thompson, who was 3-of-12.
"Draymond doesn't look at himself as a shooter," Durant said. "So when he gets into a slump it's different from Klay or myself or Steph. We just want to encourage him to keep doing what he's doing. The small stuff that he does is going to lead to him being more confident and knocking that thing down. It's a matter of time for him. We all trust and believe he's going to knock them in."
Green's history suggests he will make enough 3-pointers to keep opponents honest. Right now, though, they're taking all kinds of defensive liberties.
He vows that he's on the verge of fixing his shot, not that Green's going to start launching every time he gets a chance.
"Probably not," he said, "but the couple that I do jack, they're going to have to pay."
Utah got away with its strategy, and that annoys Green. The Warriors know a disrespected Draymond is a valuable Draymond. That's what they need.
If his postgame language is any indication, they might get it.