Draymond Green still looks to the 2012 NBA Draft for inspiration. He recalls the details of draft night vividly; he remembers exactly how it felt as team after team passed on him, as a new Mercury News profile illustrates. In fact, he can not only recall the name of every player drafted before him—he's kept tabs on how their careers have gone, too.
"I will never forget that night," said Green, who was picked No. 35 overall. "I had to wait all that time. I'm not saying I'm cocky or anything, but I felt like I had to wait behind guys I was better than. And I think I've proven it."
Green knows the career details of all the players who were drafted before him, including random journeymen who are no longer in the league. Of those in the 2012 draft, today you could only really make an argument Anthony Davis (No. 1) and Damian Lillard (No. 6) should have gone off the board before Green, though a handful of others (Andre Drummond, Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes) have become strong NBA contributors as well.
Green finished seventh in MVP voting this year, but his stock was low coming out of college because scouts weren't sure which position he'd play. Was he big enough to guard a big power forward? Was he quick or athletic enough to guard a wing player? Perhaps most importantly, could his broken jump shot be fixed?
Green has questioned each of these questions in the affirmative.
"I know what the scouts thought: 'He's a tweener. Who's he going to guard? He's maxed out his potential,'" Green said. "But I knew none of that was valid. What happened to me is what normally happens to players in my situation. But I knew I wasn't normal."
The Warriors actually passed up on Green twice before taking him at 35. He wasn't in consideration for their No. 7 pick (Harrison Barnes), but they seriously debated taking him at No. 30, the last pick of the first round, before settling on Festus Ezeli.
"We kind of blew it," Golden State General Manager Bob Myers said with a laugh. "But at least we got him."
Green, 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, averaged 14 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game this year. Along with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors young core has flourished in part because of their underdog nature and determination to disprove NBA scouts.
The Warriors and Thunder are locked at one game apiece. Game Three is Sunday at 8 p.m. in Oklahoma City.
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