Let me begin by saying this:
Draymond Green, I don’t like you. Not even a little bit. As a lifelong Michigan fan, how could I like a Spartan?
But I do respect your game, and so do a ton of NBA fans.
Perhaps when you were growing up, your arch rival had that one guy/girl you hated to play against, but man, you wish they were on your team. You know who I am referring to: the one that hustled to EVERY loose ball, and when you slacked off, they roasted you.
The new version of that in sports is the Golden State Warriors power forward. The 6’7” Green, who is in his third NBA season and already a world champion, presents so many problems for opposing teams because he can play so many positions on the floor. He is, without question, one of the main components of the Warriors machine, and the unquestioned emotional leader. His passion for the game and will to win can be both contagious to the Dubs, and irritating to opponents and opposing fans.
Green brings so much to the court for the Warriors. The first thing that stands out is his versatility. Despite being a bit undersized, he can guard a big in the paint as seamlessly as he can move to the wing. In either situation, he’s comfortable. That allows the Warriors to move people around, and create favorable matchups. He was All-NBA Defensive team this year; the third first-teamer in franchise history.
Green is also is a great passer, and seems to always find the right man at the right time for a bucket. When you have two of the best shooters in the history of the game on your team, keeping the ball in motion isn’t just important; it’s essential.
Green also has an edge and emotional boost that fuels Golden State when the team has its’ proverbial back against the wall, or it needs that shot in the arm to push things to the next level.
A lot has been made recently about whether Green crosses the line with his play (kicking Steven Adams in the marbles comes to mind), along with other Golden Globe-worthy performances. That is all part of his game.
Is it fair? Is it right?
Should the NBA fine him and keep him out of games? I say it is – BUT it works for the most part. The Warriors seem to rally around him, while opponents are rattled and taken out of their game. How quickly an opponent will forget the game plan to focus on payback for Green.
Green’s three-point shooting has improved and will only get better. I mean, he has quite a teacher in Steph Curry, for goodness sake. Draymond also has a high basketball IQ, and has worked hard to improve his game and create a spot for himself on this team.
As a second-round pick, Green also plays with a huge chip on his shoulder. For Game Of Thrones fans, Green knows the names of all of those who have done him wrong, a’la Arya Stark. He can name every player picked ahead of him, which is 34 for those keeping score at home.
Who doesn’t love a good motivation story?
In a world in which people share almost everything, Green has emerged as the prototypical modern day, social media athlete. From his candid and honest interviews to commercials and tweets, it’s easy to take a peek into the day in the life of @Money23Green.
Never one to forget those who helped pave the way for him, he stays in contact with Spartan Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo, and also donated $3.1 million dollars to the Michigan State Athletics department.
To date, it is the largest monetary gift ever given by an active professional athlete.
So as the Warriors are in complete control of the NBA Finals, an early name being thrown around for MVP is the guy I love to hate. During Game 3, keep an eye on the guy wearing 23, because you never know what will happen.
Did I mention the kid can play basketball pretty darn well?
Follow me on Twitter @Cright or my weekly podcast @NBSSportsHour.
This article appears courtesy of Nuts & Bolts, a content partner of INSCMagazine.