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Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Draymond Green

Discuss Draft Dreams on Twitter using the #DraftDreams hashtag


  • Measurables: 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, senior forward from Michigan State
  • Key Stats: 16.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 steals per game, 45 percent shooting, 41 percent 3-point shooting
  • Projected: Late first round to undrafted
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Why I like love this guy

When Draymond Green was a sophomore at MSU, making a big statistical leap from his freshman season, I wrote this lengthy post. The premise was basically, if he keeps making jumps like this, he’ll get NBA consideration. It was roundly laughed at — a friend who covers HS basketball in Michigan even mentioned it to Green’s high school coach, Lou Dawkins, who, although he obviously loves Green as a player, was skeptical he could make it to the NBA.

Last year, after the Pistons drafted Kyle Singler early in the second round, I wrote this post saying basically that if Singler could be considered a NBA prospect, Green is certainly one — he’s a better rebounder, passer and shooter than Singler, after all. It was taken a bit more seriously than the first post, but most still considered Green a longshot, at best, to ever get drafted.

Then his senior year came around. Green will likely win the Big 10 Player of the Year award, he should be on the All-America First Team and he really should get consideration for National Player of the Year. Scouts have begun to take notice as well. He’s now, dare I say, a likely second round pick and at one point, NBADraft.net even had him slotted in the late first round.

I’ve watched Green since he was in high school at Saginaw High. He’s one my favorite college players of all-time. Even Dan Feldman, a Michigan man through and through, will privately admit to loving Green’s game. It’s impossible not to. And when you combine it with his personality and work ethic, he would be a great addition to any team. He’s worked hard at MSU to lose weight, he’s made himself into a better perimeter player and he’s one of the smartest college players in the country. What’s not to love?

Pros for the Pistons

With still no guarantee that Singler is interested in playing the NBA next season and with no guarantee that Austin Daye ever develops into a rotation player, the Pistons could still use some depth at small forward.

Green is actually an intriguing fit because he’s a fantastic all-around passer. He’s always been a good high post passer at Michigan State, but he’s also been great this year as an entry passer into the post as Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne have become viable interior options. Those skills would be really interesting on the Pistons.

The Pistons have struggled at times to get Greg Monroe touches in the paint because they have perimeter players who don’t always make good entry passes. Green helps this problem.

The Pistons have guards in Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight who are fast, who are good cutters and who aren’t afraid to attack the basket. Other than Monroe, the Pistons don’t have players who consistently are willing to make precision, risky passers cutters. Green helps this problem.

Stuckey and Knight also love to push the ball on missed shots. Green is a good rebounder and a great outlet passer. He could help the Pistons get more transition opportunities.

Also, because his 3-point shot has developed so much this season, he’s a legitimate floor-stretching option. The Pistons need more players who can knock down perimeter jumpers consistently.

Green also possesses the intangible qualities — basketball IQ, leadership, toughness — that supposedly led to Joe Dumars re-signing Tayshaun Prince for four years (and they’re also the qualities that apparently every draft pick in Dumars’ history as an executive has possessed). If Green could develop, he allows the Pistons to stop relying on Prince so much as their only security blanket-type intangibles player.

Cons for the Pistons

Green has the same question marks he’s always had. He lacks athleticism and plays below the rim mostly. In college, he plays all over the court, alternating between the post and the perimeter. He has effective post moves and a back to the basket game, but in the NBA, even at small forward, he’ll often play against players that are taller than he is, so he could struggle to get his shots off.

What position he defends is also an issue. He’s improved defensively in college and works hard at it, but he doesn’t have the size to defend most NBA fours and he might not have the quickness to defend most perimeter players. No one should expect him to morph into a defensive stopper, but if he’s able to show as the college season concludes and in pre-draft workouts that he can hang with elite wings on defense in one-on-one situations, it will help his stock tremendously.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

Stat heads have loved Green all season. Scouts are starting to come around, too. Green got off to a bit of a shaky start at the beginning of the season, but he’s been the primary catalyst behind the Spartans’ huge surge in the second half. He’s posting career highs of 15.4 ppg and 10.4 rpg and is shooting nearly 39 percent from 3. He doesn’t look much like an NBA prospect, but he has the right mentality to be a Nick Collison/Jared Dudley-esque role player on a very good team for a long, long time.


Still, he continues to rebound the ball at an excellent rate, even against top competition as evidenced by his 18-rebound effort against North Carolina’s NBA-caliber frontcourt. His 12.1 rebounds per-40 are a career-high, and at just 6’7, he is grabbing 25% of his team’s total defensive rebounds. His soft hands and nose for the ball help him here, but his aggressiveness, in particular is on full display on the glass.


Spreading the floor, making the extra pass, hitting the boards and keeping the offense in rhythm will be his primary responsibilities as an NBA player. Which is similar to what they are now.

NBA Draft Blog:

Green has been a workhorse under Izzo, doing anything the team needed from him to win. Green has developed into a decent perimeter shooter as well as high post passer.

The Hoops Report:

The heart of the team is Draymond Green, a 6-foot-7 senior forward who does it all for the Spartans. Draymond, or “Day-Day” as he is called by Spartans fans, can use his strength to rebound and score down low, shoot from the perimeter, and handle the ball. He is tough to defend because of his versatility.

What is the best thing Draymond Green does for his team?

Jim Cavan (follow him on Twitter) writes for ESPN TrueHoop Network blog KnickerBlogger. He’s also a Michigan State fan. I asked him the above question:

“At the college level, the answer is anything and everything. As for how Green’s uniquely refined skill set translates to the pros? Generally speaking, elite-level rebounders tend to translate well at the next level, and Day-Day’s prowess on the glass is nothing if not that — even more so considering he plays in a conference with a slower pace, and thus fewer shot attempts. But it’s the well-rounded nature of Green’s game — at both ends of the floor — that makes a Knick fan like myself drool at the prospect of what he could achieve in a Mike D’Antoni system, where there’s always room for Swiss Army Knife types.”


  • Mar 5, 20123:47 pm
    by Adam


    Like Mike Singletary once said, “I want winners!”.
    Draymond Green is certainly a winner.  For him to now be considered as a potential late first-round pick speaks volumes about his character and work ethic and would be a great addition to any locker room.
    I like the Jared Dudley comparison, which leads me to my question; are you going to be linking to the similarity scores again?

    • Mar 5, 20124:03 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Absolutely! Ian Levy is planning to do them again for Hickory High, probably sometime after the regular season ends. Once he has them up, I’ll start linking them and go back into the profiles I’ve already published and add the links as well.

  • Mar 5, 20124:15 pm
    by Alan


    He will get drafted.  I’ll predict 2nd round because his ability to play at the next level remains a question mark and so most teams will not guarantee his contract.  Good/great college players who are high-character guys with all the intangibles can fail too (and I hope Green proves me wrong). 

    • Mar 5, 20124:25 pm
      by tarsier


      I doubt he’ll fail, he just doesn’t have a particularly high ceiling. So his success will be as a role player.

  • Mar 5, 20124:16 pm
    by tarsier


    Unfortunately, I doubt Day-Day is actually 6’7″ and I think he is most likely a fit as a SF but that his greatest upside will be at SG. He looks like a solid contributor without big time upside. Maybe an Afflalo with worse defense and better rebounding. Great player to get in mid-second round. Too much of a reach for late first round.

    • Mar 5, 20124:40 pm
      by Alan


      I can’t see Green as a SG, he won’t be able to run the floor with forwards, how will he run  with guards?  The ‘rebounding translating well’ is a nice point by Patrick and gives me pause.  Otherwise, I don’t see the difference between Green and DaJuan Summers.

      • Mar 5, 20124:52 pm
        by Patrick Hayes


        Well, he’s a much better shooter, passer and, I would argue, ball-handler than Summers was in college too.

        • Mar 5, 20126:42 pm
          by frankie d


          as a committed summers slappie, i’d argue that it is not even close…green has way more ball skills than summers every had.  plus he just plays a much smarter game.
          green will get drafted late second round or maybe not at all, and then he’ll have a nice 10 year career as a wing player.
          when they do those draft re-do’s after 4 years or so, the “experts” will probably say that he should have been picked in the late lottery or just outside of it.
          sure, he’ll have trouble with some of the more athletic wings, but then most guys have trouble guarding those players.
          he’ll be a good team defender, a barely competent one-on-one defender and he’ll excell on the offensive end.
          guys like him always scare teams off because they don’t know what position they will play, but when they get into the league and if they get a legitimate shot, they will excel.  he will carve out his own little niche.
          dudley is a good comparison, though dudley may be a bit bigger and more athletic. i think a much more skilled and well- rounded quenton richardson is a possiblity also.  offensively, he’ll play a lot like richardson did when he first came into the league, but he will provide more defense and definitely more rebounding.  
          and i would not doubt that green will come into the league with even more improved range and consistency on his shot, as i’m sure he understands that it will be his meal ticket in the nba.
          but with his ballhandling, his shooting, his passing, his high BB IQ, and, very importantly, his rebounding, he will give a team a lot of pluses. 
          definitely would like to see detroit draft him.  if they picked up either green or jae crowder, i’d be happy.

      • Mar 5, 20125:20 pm
        by tarsier


        It largely has to do with the fact that he is often reported to be 6’5″. And that height will be a very difficult obstacle to overcome in guarding SFs. The NBA currently has taller SFs than ever, especially among the top players at the position: James, Durant, Wallace, Granger, Anthony, Deng, Pierce, and Iguodala all play at the 3. No matter how much character he’s got, Green would get absolutely bullied by these guys. There are only a few elite athletes at the 2 and it is also a position where the best players don’t tend to be the tallest ones (see Wade, Eric Gordon, Harden vs Daye, SJax, DeRozan).

        And it is more common that players are able to use basketball IQ to overcome disadvantages in athleticism than disadvantages in size–although both definitely happen.

        • Mar 5, 20126:14 pm
          by Alan


          I doubt Green will be able to carve out a niche as a pro (again, I hope I’m wrong).  If he does, I really, really can’t see how it’s possible he’ll play guard.  I don’t see Green gaurding Wade, Gordon, Harden, DeRozan, etc (and you forgot Kobe!).

          • Mar 5, 20128:07 pm
            by tarsier

            That is because I was comparing not very good SGs who are big to very good SGs who are small. Kobe is fairly average size-wise for an SG so he was irrelevant to my comment. And anyone can guard DeRozan. That was part of my point. Just make him work and he’ll start chucking. He may go off on you for 30, but if it takes him 25+ shots, job well done.

          • Mar 6, 20126:18 am
            by oats

            Honestly, this argument doesn’t seem to be founded in much of anything. Green will likely just guard the wing player who is the worst offensively while whoever is playing next to him on the wing will get the better player. In Detroit for example, if Green came in at the 3 next to Stuckey, we would ask Stuckey to guard the better offensive player. If Green played the 2 next to Prince, Prince gets the better offensive player. It’s not all that important which position he plays, he’ll likely never be more than an average defender anyways.
            I’d also like to say it is really strange you pointed out Granger being a big guy at the 3 that Green wouldn’t be able to defend. Granger is 6’8″. Paul George is their SG, and he is also listed at 6’8″ tall. The thing is, George reportedly grew 2″ over the lockout and is supposedly 6’10″ tall now. George is also faster than Granger. Essentially, Green wouldn’t stand a chance of guarding either spot if your theory is right that it is better to be slower than shorter. I should add that Iggy is just 6’6″, which actually makes him short for the 3. Iggy is probably stronger than Green, but I think his speed would be Iggy’s biggest advantage at that spot, which is the same problem Green would have at the 2. I also assume Wallace is the 6’7″ Gerald Wallace, which happens to be the same height of Paul Pierce. These guys are average height for their position, but both of those guys would likely push Green around as they are both really strong. Their strength has nothing to do with height though. While I’m aware you weren’t going for a comprehensive list, I would like to add Gallinari to your list of tall SFs, although I have a hard time picturing him bullying anyone. Raining 3s over top of him sure, but not bullying.
            I must admit that I disagree with the basic premise that it is better to be slow than short. When too slow for your spot the guy runs by you and shoots layups.If you are strong enough to not be pushed around by the tall guy you can force him to shoot over you instead of going by you. It’s just always better to be there than to be trailing behind the guy, and it is better to force jump shots than give up lay ups. I just don’t see many examples of average height guys defending their position well when they are also really slow for their position. I see plenty of examples of short guys guarding guys they can run with if they are strong enough not to get pushed around. Like your DeRozan example, I think DeRozan would look like he was auditioning for a slam dunk contest. Granger on the other hand might be forced to shoot jump shots, which is vastly better than dunks. Sure most of the guys on your list beat Green up in the post, but Wade, Ellis, Harden, Gordon, DeRozan, and most other 2 guards would be getting into the lane at will. Green is likely to get stronger and then he won’t have as big of an issue with those guys. He will never be as fast as Wade, and that is just a bigger problem in my opinion.

          • Mar 6, 20129:16 am
            by tarsier

            I understand that George is just as big as Granger. My point in that comment, which I thought was really clear, was that today in the NBA, the best SFs are by and large the biggest SFs. The best SGs are not by and large the biggest SGs. And yes, Wallace, Pierce, and Iggy are not particularly tall, but they are big guys because of all their muscle so they are unusually strong for their position. Although, I concede that in Wallace’s case, big might be the wrong word. He just plays bigger than he is.

            And I never said that slow is better than short. I said that high basketball IQ can be more ably used to overcome slowness than shortness. Look at what Kidd has done defensively. The point is that if a defender is good enough at reading his man/court situation, they can usually stay in front of their guy in spite of moving a lot less in the same amount of time. This is irrelevant on breakaways, but in the half-court, it is tough to beat a smart defender by just being faster. Also, in today’s NBA, I don’t believe that SGs tend to be much faster than SFs. Mostly, they are just better shooters.

  • Mar 5, 20128:07 pm
    by Max


    I haven’t seen Green and have no opinion on him but I hope it’s not hometown excitement a la Mateen Cleaves.  He does looks like a jack of all trades in the video.
    I kind of feel like they should go big and big and ask Jerebko to orient himself towards being a small forward during the off season.    During his rookie year, the team didn’t really fall totally apart until Bynum got hurt and they had a five game winning streak with Bynum, Stuckey, Jerebko, Maxiell and Wallace.  That must have been some kind of modern record for five straight wins by a starting unit with what those five were earning.   Leaving that, Jerebko has played less like a small forward this year than his rookie season.

  • Mar 5, 20129:03 pm
    by frankie d


    speaking of the draft, the local radio station 750, the game had an interview with trader jack mccloskey, to talk about the draft and the trade deadline.
    he had some interesting thing to say about the draft, and trades.
    he revealed that daly came to him one day and told him that dantley refused to talk with him about an apparent problem on the team.
    mccloskey had a meeting with dantley and dantley refused to reveal the problem.
    mccloskey told him he’d trade him if he didn’t tell him, dantley wouldn’t tell him and so mccloskey traded him the next day.
    when the announcer asked if he ever found out what was bothering dantley, trader jack said that dantley never told him, but he thought – and this was just a guess – that dantley was upset because zeke was taking over too much and that zeke was not getting him the ball.
    interestingly, this is what i’d always thought.  you could see zeke ignore dantley, when he’d be wide open, deep in the post, yelling for the ball.
    again, mccloskey said it was only a guess on his part, but it definitely rings true, considering what was happening on the court.
    if you can find the interview online, its worth listening to, cause he talks about all things pistons.
    good stuff.
    he’s getting old, but he still remembers a lot of stuff…
    like the fact that rodman had really bad allergies that were affecting his play in college all star games and that this helped detroit pick him up later in the draft.

    • Mar 5, 20129:14 pm
      by Max


      Great stuff, but did he say anything of note regarding the current squad?

    • Mar 5, 20129:26 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Thanks Frankie. Found the link. Great, great stuff. I’ll have a post up tomorrow.

  • Mar 6, 20121:06 am
    by Mike Payne


    This excites me– Patrick, I have dug your DraftDreams series since the early days, and I’m pumped to see it again.  Thumbs up to the ceiling MFPH!

  • Mar 6, 20127:44 am
    by jay_uno


    so we would have a great passer at PF/C and a great passer at SF..

    unfortunately, all of that is irrelevant when your PG can´t pass the ball

    • Mar 6, 20128:57 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      Or it takes pressure off of your point guard to be your primary playmaker.

      Not that I think Green is likely to be a 35 minute per game player, but the Sacramento teams of the early 2000s are a perfect example. Mike Bibby had very little to do with running the offense. It ran through the high post, with great passing big men Chris Webber, Vlade Divac and, later, Brad Miller. Not saying the Pistons could recreate this, but they’re half way there with Monroe, who is already an elite passing big man.

  • Mar 6, 20129:34 am
    by neutes


    I have no idea how he’ll look in the NBA, but I love Green. I just can’t see him playing on the perimeter. He’s like a poor man’s Barkley or a shorter Odom or something. He’d have to play in the low post. He’d be a great guy to bring off the bench. He’s comparable to Dejuan Blair size-wise and Blair has been productive. I’d certainly take him in the 2nd round if he was there.

  • Mar 6, 201211:35 am
    by vic


    I’m sold… I liked Draymond, but wasn’t into him for the Pistons. You just improved my wish list. 

    I think if we get a shot blocker with our 1st or 2nd pick, Draymond would be a great 3rd pick, if Scott Machado is not available.

    The passing, leadership, and rebounding he would bring at the 3 position would definitely help our team… And with Singler staying overseas, we can bring him in to backup Jerebko at the 3 and they can replace Tayshaun when he is traded or retires.

  • Mar 6, 20122:31 pm
    by RationalSportsFan


    Not buying Draymond as a good pro at all.  6’7″, 230 is not waht he will measure for teams.  Probably closer to 6’5″, 245.
    Too small to be a big and too slow to be a wing.  He will be a defensive liability wherever he plays.  He’s not a special shooter who is going to be a long-range specialist.  And his rebounding numbers are overblown given the team he plays on (filled with terrible rebounders).

    • Mar 6, 20122:43 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      “He will be a defensive liability wherever he plays. “

      Well, he did just make first team all-defense in the Big Ten. He’s not going to go out and defend Dwight Howard in the paint or Lebron James on the perimeter, but saying he’s going to be a definite liability is a stretch. DeJuan Blair is fine most nights. Chuck Hayes is a solid defender despite being like a 6-5 center.

      “He’s not a special shooter who is going to be a long-range specialist. “

      He shot above 40 percent from three this season.

      “And his rebounding numbers are overblown given the team he plays on (filled with terrible rebounders).”

      They aren’t. Rebounding numbers typically translate well from college to pro (exhibit A this year: Kenneth Faried). And, as others have pointed out above, since Big Ten teams play at a slow pace with fewer possessions per game, Green actually gets fewer rebounding opportunities on a game to game basis than a lot of other guys get.

      • Mar 6, 20123:11 pm
        by RationalSportsFan


        1.  “Liability” is too strong of a word, but he is going to struggle to defend even average offensive PF (cuz of his size) or SF (cuz of his lack of quickness).
        2.  A senior shooting 40% from the college 3-pt line is not a strong indicator of future success at the NBA range.
        3.  And, rebounding numbers do tend to translate, but my point is that his CURRENT rebounding numbers are inflated because MSU lacks any other strong rebounders.  Like how Dwight Howard might average 20 boards a game if everyone else on his team was 6ft tall.  If no teammates are stealing rebounds from you, your numbers are going to be inflated.  MSU’s bigs all struggle to rebound the ball.

        • Mar 31, 201210:42 pm
          by Yasir


          MSU is one of the top rebounding teams. Adrien Payne, Derrick Nix, and Brenden Dawson are all strong rebounders

          • Apr 4, 20122:25 pm
            by RationalSportsFan

            Nix and Payne combined to play 37 MPG and get 8 rebounds.  Those are terrible numbers for a couple seven footers.

    • Jun 6, 20125:38 pm
      by JT's Hoops Blog


      I am sure the Pistons can get someone better at nine and from what I gather, he sounds like he’s too short and too slow to make a real difference in the league.  he’s certainly not first round material considering how deep this draft is going to be.

  • Apr 5, 20129:11 am
    by Jeremy


    I know this post is about a month old, but I wanted to weigh in on it. If I am correct, the Pistons have 2 second rounders this year. I absolutely wouldn’t mind them taking a flier on Green in the second. The arguments on both sides are going to highlight undersized players who made it at their positions in the league (most notably Big Ben at center; Chuck Hayes anyone?; Spudd Webb; Dejuan Blair) and those who did not. 

    The kid obviously has the skill set of a professional basketball player. Does he lack some of the physical attributes that he has absolutely no control over? Yes, probably. The important thing to me is this: does he work at the things he can control (effort, energy, making the right plays, etc.)? The answer to this has to be a resounding yes. I would much rather have a player on this team that gives us everything he has 100% of the time and that may be undersized/lacks athleticism than a player that is the right size/has athleticism for his position (see: Allen Iverson – I know, I know on the smaller side; Kwame Brown; Nazr Mohammad; Austin Daye; Charlie V; etc.).

  • Apr 14, 201212:42 pm
    by Masta


    Green will be hard to defend at the 2 guard, his body his ball handling his offense awareness, he can start at both 2 guard or small. Yall dont know Green im a huge fan of MSU and when Green get to the pros he’s only gonna get better, i bet he’s in the gym now, yall will see and i hope he do get drafted by the pistons that would be a good fit for Knight,Prince and Monroe. trade Ben and Stuckey for a PF and a back up center!!!

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