Draymond Green Expects To Be Late 1st-Round Pick
LARRY LAGE,AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Draymond Green knows some NBA teams will think he isn’t tall or quick enough to make it in the league.
The former Michigan State star, though, said he wouldn’t come up short if his intangibles could be measured.
“No one has more heart or a better work ethic than me,” Green said in a recent interview, gazing across a practice court toward two of the Final Four banners he helped the Spartans earn.
The 6-foot-7, 235-pound Green already has a workout scheduled with Boston, one of about a dozen teams that have expressed an interest in the versatile player.
“I hear I could go anywhere from 20 to 30,” he said. “But you never know, so I’m going to control what I can control and that’s to be ready for any and every opportunity I get to show what I can do.”
Green, the lone senior on The Associated Press’ All-America team last season, might be overlooked by teams early in the first round because some scouts don’t think he’s big enough to play power forward or agile enough to be a small forward. Of the previous 16 seniors on the AP All-America team since 2003, 15 of them were drafted in the first round. The one exception was former Villanova star Scottie Reynolds, who wasn’t drafted at all.
The Utah Jazz don’t have a first-round pick, but their vice president of player personnel sounds as if he wishes the team did.
“We really like Draymond,” Jazz executive Walt Perrin said. “If he goes in the 20-to-30 range, which I think is an accurate estimation at this point, he’ll be going to a pretty good team that might be able to give him time to develop.
“Teams will want to figure out if he can play the 3 (small forward) or be a small 4 (power forward) — or play both. Our league has gotten smaller, so we do have some 6-7 and 6-8 power forwards.”
One of them is 6-8, 253-pound Paul Millsap, who has developed into a solid contributor and is perhaps a player Green could become in the league.
“That’s not a bad comparison, especially in terms of their bodies,” Perrin said. “At the same stage, Paul was a better rebounder, but Draymond is a better offensive player.”
Green averaged 16.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists last season. The Big Ten player of the year became the first player from one of the nation’s six power conferences to average at least 15 points, 10 rebounds and three assists since Tim Duncan did it at Wake Forest during the 1996-97 season.
He helped the Spartans win 107 games, three Big Ten titles, make two trips to the Final Four and claim a conference tournament title.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo can sell any scout or general manager on Green if they call him.
“My biggest point is and will be, Draymond is one of the few guys that has gotten better every year — from his shooting to ball handling to his body — and he’ll keep doing that because of his work ethic,” Izzo said. “The guy is a winner in much the same way that Magic (Johnson) and Mateen (Cleaves) were here and no one is ever going to have a problem with him off the court.”
Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars can vouch for Green as a person. Dumars has known Green since he was in the ninth grade, playing on an AAU team with his son, Jordan Dumars, and the two have remained friends.
“Draymond is absolutely a great kid, who represents everything you want on and off the court,” Dumars said. “As a player, the individual workouts will be important for him, but he’s proven himself over the last four years.”
Green originally planned to put East Lansing in his rear-view mirror this week to prepare for the NBA draft in Chicago after graduating last week, but he decided to stay on campus for at least two workouts a day.
“There’s no good reason to run somewhere else to train when I know (video coordinator) Jordan Ott and (former manager) Nate Babcock can help me get better,” he said.
Green, who has accepted an invitation to the NBA’s predraft camp in Chicago, said he has a workout scheduled May 22 with the Celtics. He also has drawn interest from Miami, Indiana, San Antonio, Golden State, Cleveland, Detroit, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Sacramento, Utah and New York.
If each of those teams — and more — want to bring Green in for a workout, none of them will get turned down.
“I’m not going to worry about getting tired because I’ve been grinding my whole life,” he said. “Some teams are going to bring me in as a 3 and some as a 4 to see how I deal with quickness or length. I’m sure I’ll be going against some 6-10 guys and some shorter and quick guys.
“If teams ask me if I think I’m a power or a small forward my answer is going to be, ‘I’m a player.’ I don’t want to be classified, I just want a chance to play.”
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