While the Splash Brothers get the majority of the credit for the team’s success, Green’s impact cannot be overstated. Curry knows the All-Star forward’s worth. He gave his Dubs teammate high praise in a recent interview.
Draymond Green was a star at Michigan State
Draymond Green was a standout at Michigan State University before entering the NBA. He joined Tom Izzo’s Spartans as the No. 36 overall prospect, according to ESPN.
Green was a player who consistently improved his game each year with the team. The Saginaw, Michigan native earned National Sixth Man of the Year honors as a sophomore in 2009. In 2010, he was the team’s second-leading scorer, and led the Spartans in rebounds, assists, and steals. He also became the third Michigan State player to record a triple-double in the NCAA Tournament.
As a senior, he took his game to another level. Green was named Big Ten Player of the Year and was a Consensus First Team All-American. He was also a finalist for the Naismith and Wooden awards.
He led the Spartans to two Final Four appearances. He’s currently the leading rebounder in school history. He also ranks second in blocks and steals for his career.
Michigan State retired Green’s No. 23 jersey in 2019.
Steph Curry called Draymond Green the steal of the 2012 NBA Draft
The Warriors selected Green with the No. 35 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Despite his outstanding collegiate accomplishments, the forward fell to the second round. Curry joined Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on the All the Smoke podcast in 2020 and spoke about his teammate’s impact on Golden State.
He and Green did not know each other before the draft but clicked right away. Curry referred to the Michigan State product as the “steal of the draft.” The 2012 draft class featured several All-Stars, including Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, and Andre Drummond.
There were also many players selected before Green who simply did not pan out in the NBA, most notably Thomas Robinson, Kendall Marshall, and Royce White.
The 31-year-old is undoubtedly a steal where the Warriors drafted him. He’s a three-time All-Star, six-time All-NBA Defense, and the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year.
Green got to showcase his full array of talents during his rookie season. David Lee was a starter and went down in the first round of the playoffs. The first-year player stepped in and put the league on notice.
Draymond’s a guy that nothing’s going to show up in the stat sheet, but he’s going to make winning plays. He’s going to pass the eye test every single time.Steph Curry
Getting that meaningful experience together early on propelled the Warriors to new heights. “The rest was history after that,” Curry added.
Green brings attitude to the Warriors
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are the greatest shooting tandem in NBA history. As great as they are, however, the Warriors don’t win three championships without Draymond Green.
Being a second-rounder, Green plays with a massive chip on his shoulder. He even started a podcast about it. Every time he takes, the floor he sets out to remind people why he’s in the league.
Green has developed into an elite NBA defender. He’s undersized for his position, but he’s tough and doesn’t back down from anyone. He’s the guy who willingly accepts the challenge of guarding the opposing team’s best scorer.
He makes up for his deficiencies in mental toughness. The nine-year veteran is a born trash-talker. He makes it his mission to get under his opponents’ skin and take them out of their game.
Whether you love him or you hate him, Draymond Green is a winner. Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors would agree.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference