All Draymond Green needed was a chance to prove himself.
In his third season with Golden State, the versatile forward has excelled as a full-time starter, showing the ability to defend a multitude of positions while finding numerous ways to contribute each night.
The 6-foot-7 forward slipped to the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft because teams couldn’t project exactly what position Green would play.
Turns out, he can play anywhere in the lineup.
At 230 pounds, Green is capable of muscling rebounds away from taller players on the floor and once he gains possession, has the speed and handle to ignite a fast break.
The former Michigan State star has consistently demonstrated the ability to defend either guard or forward positions and his much improved 3-point shot has made him one of the most valuable players on the roster.
Earlier in the season against Portland, Green drew the task of defending All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, even though he is four inches shorter and in the following contest, spent some time trying to limit point guard Chris Paul.
In his first season as a starter, Green ranks second on the team in rebounding, third in steals and fourth in assists and scoring.
His 1.5 made 3-point shots a game has helped Golden State remain as one of the most prolific long range shooting teams in the league, giving the Warriors another option besides Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
The versatility of Green has made helped him carve out a place in the Warriors starting lineup and Shatter the Glass caught up with him to discuss playing alongside the Splash Brothers, his Thanksgiving plans and much more.
What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Are you going to spend the day with Stephen Curry and his family?
Definitely. I’ll eat with them and it’ll be a great way to spend the holiday with the team. It’s good that we are in a city where we have someone where that is their home and you can actually feel like you are at home. So that’s really good.
Versatility has really become an asset in the NBA and that is what you bring to Golden State. How has that helped you, being able to do a little bit of everything?
It’s really helped me a lot. I think coming out (of college) a lot of people look at it as a downfall, that I was pretty good at everything but not great at anything. I just saw that as one of my strengths. I just have never tried to change the player that I am, I just always felt that I will find a way to get it done. If it’s something that the team needs, then I can bring it, but I’ve continued to get better and continued to work.
Your teammate Andre Iguodala is a perfect guy to try and model your game after, what have you learned from him since he joined the team?
I’ve learned a lot from him. I can’t necessarily say I’ve modeled my game after him because he is is faster and much more athletic, but I’ve definitely learned a lot from him. Just his approach to the game, the things that he does with his versatility, passing, a lot of those things. Even where I should defend and tricks of the trade that he’s picked up on during his 11 years in the league. I can really pick his brain for knowledge.
Golden State has always been known as an offensive team, but this year it’s the defense that has helped carry the team. What is the biggest difference this year defensively?
Our versatility is one of the best things about us defensively because we can switch (match-ups) a lot. Then we have the big fella, Andrew Bogut, in the middle anchoring our defense and protecting the rim. I don’t think he gets as much credit as he deserves, he’s one of the best rim protectors in the NBA. That makes a huge difference, knowing that if I get beat, I got the big fella there to help. I may have to crack back on his man, but I know he’s there to help me and that makes a huge difference.
You have defended guards and forwards this year, what are some of the challenges defending multiple positions presents?
It’s a completely different approach. When you are guarding a guard, you are talking about foot movement, chasing guys off screens, just a lot of stuff. Guarding the penetration, but when you are guarding a big, you are talking about defending the post. So it’s a completely different approach. However, I try to approach it with the same mindset, but just knowing my responsibilities.
How much does the shooting of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson help your game offensively?
That helps anybody. You’re playing with two of the best shooters in the game, if that doesn’t help you, then you’re probably not that good. I think that helps anybody.