The 2012 Draft
Initially, this section was going to be based solely on Draymond Green. However, with the progression this postseason, Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli both deserve to be mentioned.
Barnes was the lottery pick for Golden State this year and had high expectations coming into the league. He left North Carolina after just two seasons and on several occasions proved that he left the college game too early. Outside of freak of nature type athleticism and solid perimeter defense, Barnes didn’t bring much to the table.
He had to come off the bench his sophomore season and struggled. Everything changed this season, though. He continued to have his ups and downs, but has been playing out of his mind as of late. Playoff Barnes was in full effect and the Warriors couldn’t be happier with the result. This time, it looks like it should linger into next season and hopefully it becomes a constant occurrence. I think we have finally found what the Warriors admired about Barnes in 2012.
Festus Ezeli was the second Warriors pick in 2012. He was a low-risk, high reward type of player. There weren’t high expectations for the Vanderbilt product. Like Barnes, he got off to a slow start.
Ezeli was battling injuries for most of his short career, but seems to have found his rhythm this past season. He played well in the postseason and has been a serviceable back-up center.
The main attraction of the 2012 draft for Golden State ends up being Draymond Green. Now, Green wasn’t highly touted out of college. Several analysts said that he doesn’t have a true position and wouldn’t make it in the professional game. They said he’s too small, overweight, and just could not hang with NBA players.
They couldn’t have been more wrong.
Green is the heartbeat of the Warriors and the engine that keeps them running. The Warriors played so well with him being their starting power forward this season that Steve Kerr kept him in the lineup over former All-Star and the highest paid player on the team in David Lee.
Green is arguably the best defensive player in the league. For a guy who was questioned about what position he would guard, he now can guard all five of them on the court. He is one of the very few players in the league that can do so.
When the Warriors wanted to trade for a stretch four this offseason, he worked hard to become that guy. His work ethic is one of the best league wide and it shows whenever he is present on the court. Outside of Curry, he could be the most valuable player on the team and it’s evident on a nightly basis.
The Warriors hit a home run in 2012.