From Michigan State to Golden State
On Tuesday, PistonPowered.com’s Patrick Hayes (@patrick_hayes) gave us his thoughts on Warriors rookie Draymond Green after getting to watch him during his playing days at Michigan State. While he may not be expected to perform as well as first-rounders Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli, the 21-year old from Saginaw, Michigan was the one who stood out the most to me at this past Monday’s introductory rookie press conference. Holding up his number 23 jersey that another Spartan used to wear during his time in Golden State (Jason Richardson), Draymond might be the most intriguing guy out of all three first-year players in the sense that he was arguably a first-round talent who happened to slip to the Warriors in the second round and could possibly end up being the steal of the draft.
The well-spoken Green mentioned early on in the press conference that his coach at Michigan State, Tom Izzo, told him that he had been talking to Golden State a lot and that there was a very high possibility that they would select him. For someone who averaged 16.2 points per game and 10.6 boards in his senior season, who wouldn’t be interested? Evidently, no one was interested enough to take him late in the first round where he thought he would go (he thought he would be selected in the 20-27 range). “I definitely didn’t think I would be there at 30 and for sure not at 35 but it happens every year,” Green said about his fall into the second-round. “Guys slide every year. You had Perry Jones who was a projected top-10 pick, go 28. It happens every year but I couldn’t have ended up in a better situation.”
The knock on the Michigan State product is that he doesn’t have a defined position in the NBA and is your classic “tweener.” At 6’7 he is too small to play power forward and supposedly isn’t quick enough to play small forward. However, a proven winner during his time under Izzo (who compared him to Shane Battier), he won’t let the naysayers detract him from doing all he can to contribute to this Warriors team. “It’s always been about what I can’t do. It just keeps going, keeps going and never stops. It just keeps that fire lit in me” Green said.
Green indeed may never become the great player he was in college but if he can bring the rebounding, passing and hustle he displayed during his four years in Izzo’s system, that will be the niche he’ll need to find in order to have a successful NBA career. Conventional wisdom says that rebounding is the one skill that translates when making the jump from college to the pros, which I’m sure, is what GM Bob Myers thought about with Green sitting on the board at 35.
While the transition from the college game to the pro game may take some time getting used to, Green is already getting comfortable in his new surroundings here on the West Coast. “I love it out here so far. I ran into a couple Warriors fans already and you can just tell how the fan base is. It’s similar to that at Michigan State so I’m definitely used to that part of it. Just looking forward to making even more of an adjustment as I’m out here longer and longer and getting to know the place ’cause it’s home now.” While Green admitted it would take some time to get used to life in California after spending his whole life on the East Coast, he made it known that the one thing he wouldn’t miss: snow. “I grew up in the snow so I’m used to it,” Green said. “But I’m not gonna miss it at all.”
With Green, Myers felt that the Warriors were able to walk away from the draft with essentially three first-round picks. While it may take a while to figure out if that’s true about Green, given his position on the depth chart, there is no doubt he brings the know-how to win to a team that has an ominous “losing” cloud surrounding it. “I’m definitely looking forward to bringing the winning mentality to this franchise” Green said.
Bring it on, Draymond. Bring it on.