Why Draymond Green Isn't on Bench; DeMarcus Cousins' Effect on Warriors?

Editor's note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area's Warriors reporter, will take you inside the two-time defending NBA champions as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #askkerith

The Warriors haven't won a road game since Klay Thompson's night of 14 3-pointers in Chicago on Oct. 29. That's five consecutive road games dropped, but the one Thursday night featuring overtime in Toronto doesn't feel sour.

The Warriors fought. The rest of the NBA saw what the Warriors were able to do, short-handed, against the best team in the East.

Having Steph Curry back Saturday in Detroit isn't a magic wand for unlimited wins, but the Warriors should feel encouraged that things are going to feel smoother with him running the offense.

@Jbell_fp What role do you think DeMarcus Cousins will fill when he returns to the court?
@nat3kelly How will the dynamic change, if at all, when Boogie comes back? With the solid work Damian Jones is providing and regardless of Boogie's talents, when he comes back does it benefit the Warriors more or less?

DeMarcus Cousins is an All-Star center who has averaged 21.5 points and 11 rebounds in his career. When he's healthy, he will be a starter. Expect Steve Kerr to keep an eye on Boogie's minutes to make sure his conditioning is good and his legs are under him. As you know, Boogie has dealt with an Achilles tendon tear, which requires one of the longest rehabs in sports.

These early season games are valuable to Damian Jones, but you have to go with a talent like Boogie when he's ready. I don't think starting Boogie will stunt DJ either. It could be good for DJ to take on an off-the-bench role as he continues his growth as a player.

I'm looking forward to two things when it comes to Boogie's return: an injection of energy and his 3-point shooting. We've talked about how one thing the Warriors will have to combat this season is complacency. That is, when they know they're an exceptionally good team with the ability to win championships, how do they care about the mid-season slog when the real prize is in the postseason?

That's where Boogie comes in. He hasn't played since January. He cares. He's missed basketball, and he knows people will be watching his comeback. He also wants a huge contract next season.

As for the threes, Boogie was attempting about six of them per game and making about two of them last season with the Pelicans. I like watching him sink threes when he's shooting pregame with the Warriors. He's a special player for his ability to bully opponents in the paint, or step outside the arc to shoot. When Boogie comes back and everyone is healthy, that's five All-Stars on the court to terrify defenses.

His return is much anticipated, but I also want to throw in a small pause. It might take five games, a dozen games, or the rest of the season for everyone to find their rhythm together. You're adding a powerful player to a group of powerful players, so everyone will have to feel things out on the court. This isn't a bad thing, just a puzzle to fit together.

The time Boogie already has spent with the Warriors rehabbing has built some chemistry, but playing in an offense that's functioned months without you can be a challenge. Don't freak out if there are a couple speed bumps on the way to reaching highway speed.

@MeeshCC #askkerith Any insight as to why Draymond hasn't been sitting courtside with the team while he is injured? I've seen Curry, Boogie and Alfonzo at nearly every game they've missed, especially home games, but I only recall seeing Draymond at one, maybe two.

Meesh and I had a laugh Monday when, minutes after she sent this tweet, Draymond Green came out to the bench to watch the second half of the Magic game. It's still a worthwhile question to answer because the season is young and injuries happen. Overall: Don't read too much into who's not on the bench. It's not a big deal.

For example, during the Magic game, Steph, Draymond, Alfonzo McKinnie and Boogie were on the injury report. Steph will be out on the bench because he's the face of the team. Zo is too young or too new to the Warriors to stay back. He needs to watch. Boogie will be out there because he wants to show how invested in the team he is. Plus, he wants to trash talk opponents. Watch him yap at guys when they try to take threes by the Warriors bench. It's hilarious.

That leaves Draymond … and if Draymond isn't on the bench, that means he hates everyone and sucks as a teammate, right? NOPE.

Sometimes it's just a preference to stay in the locker room if you're veteran enough to have that choice. Sometimes it's a comfort thing. If a guy has a knee injury, it could be uncomfortable to sit on the bench. If a guy has a foot injury, maybe he doesn't want to risk getting stepped on. Maybe you don't want to show a million cameras how well -- or not well -- you're moving when you're hurt. Plus, the area around the bench can be crowded, especially on the road.

I've heard a few questions about Draymond not being out on the bench as often as other guys and whether it means something. This reminds me that no one said much when Andre wasn't on the bench for games at the start of the season. Remember when he raced out of the locker room to congratulate Jonas Jerebko for his tip-in?

I don't think Meech meant the question this way, but if you're looking to slam Draymond for something … this ain't it.

@CAAnnieBananie I know that Andre is mindful of eating a healthy diet & that he has encouraged Looney to improve his eating habits. Are there any others on the team that are vegan/eat a plant-based/healthy diet with the goal of improving their athletic performance and health? Thanks Kerith!

The last time I talked to Andre Iguodala about his diet, he told me he was 90 percent vegan. Andre and David West talked to young players about their diets and what habits it takes to have a long career. Andre frequently has a Whole Foods bag in his hands when he arrives at an arena. The team provides plenty of healthy food, but Andre does his own thing.

He made an impression on Kevon Looney, who eliminated things like fried chicken and fast food from his diet. Last season during a Warriors Central episode, Kevon told me he used to hate broccoli, and now it's one of the things he eats the most when he fills his plate with vegetables.

I don't know exactly how many players are vegan/vegetarian on the team. It also changes during the season, since guys will try it in spurts as they feel out what works for their bodies. I remember talking to JaVale McGee about being vegan last season, but that wasn't something he maintained for the whole year.

The Warriors provide a variety of healthy options for the players to eat. At the brunch buffet, there's oatmeal with lot of mix-ins, egg-white omelettes, gluten-free pasta with veggies, and plenty of fruit, to name a few options. Everyone eats well.

@chairechu02 What is your weirdest habit? What is the worst thing you did as a kid? Describe the colors blue and yellow to someone blind.

I'm picking the middle question. The worst thing I did as a kid was think I needed to do the "high school milestone" things, like sneak out of the house to go party. I did that once, and it was stupid.

My friend Julie (more like frenemy …) said she'd pick me up at midnight Saturday night, and we'd go to some party that was only loosely happening. Those were firm enough plans for me, Miss Goody Two Shoes, who wanted to do something before I graduated.

I propped open my bedroom window and slipped out. My house was on a steep hill, so I waited by the garage, and I'd walk down to Julie's car when she came.

Five minutes passed. Then 10. When I heard a noise that wasn't her car, I ducked around the house, then peeked my head out and slinked back to the garage. It took at least 20 minutes before I figured out she wasn't coming.

I went back to my bedroom window and came inside. As I was locking the window, a cop car arrived. Turns out my neighbors saw me outside being suspicious, and they reported a prowler trying to break into the garage.

The cop knocked on the front door, and my dad joined him, walking around the neighborhood with flashlights trying to find the prowler.

My parents changed the locks on all the doors and bought a new garage door keypad. I felt awful. It took me a year before I told my mom I was the culprit. It took longer to tell my dad.

@MarkG_Medina What's the Warriors beat writing crew like?
@couchtomato62 Also is there a local fraternity between writers/tv from say the chronicle, athletic, nbcba, Mercury or do y'all fight like cats and dogs for the scoop.

It's a good group. The fact that Medina asked me a question ... because I asked a question in his mailbag ... shows we keep up with each other in a friendly way. Maybe Medina is fishing for compliments, I don't know. He's OK, I guess. (He's wonderful, and I'll never forget a nice text from him at the end of last season.)

The beat writers and TV crews work many days alongside each other. It's impossible not to get to know your colleagues, and thankfully, it's an easy-going group. It's true we are competitors, but there's enough meat to talk about that we all get a bite of something different. You see that in the variety of stories that come out every day. The beat writers come up with fresh angles, and I read all of their work. We take time one-on-one with players to build relationships so the stories get deeper.

There's also a "scrum" setting where a player or Steve Kerr will sit at a table, and more than a dozen reporters surround the table to toss out questions. The answers are free for everyone to use. This setting helps Steve answer questions once when we all want to know the same things. This is why you might see the same topic in the paper or online, written five different ways. But each reporter has his or her own interpretation of things, and sprinkles in different observations.

It's cool to be part of a group that's covering a team that will go down in history as one of the NBA's best, and being among reporters who bring their best as well.

High Five

This week's High Five also is a question!

@__OhMyLanta Hi, thanks for doing these. I do not think I have missed a #AskKerith, but if I have...could you link your previous #AskKeriths in each new one? That way if I/we missed one we can find it?

It's a High Five for you, the readers and question-askers, who make this mailbag fun to do each week. If you missed a mailbag, go back to the start of this one and look for "By Kerith Burke" under the headline, next to the date. Click my name, and everything I've written will come up.

Folks at NBC Sports Bay Area have a way to measure what's doing well online and on the MyTeams app, and it's great to get feedback about the mailbag's popularity. I'm tossing some thanks back to you for your thoughtful questions. Keep them coming!

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith, and, of course, watch her on NBC Sports Bay Area's Warriors coverage all season.

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