Sometimes it only takes one person to believe in you to change your life forever. For Draymond Green, that someone was Steve Kerr. Today, you can't imagine the Warriors dynasty without Dray. But according to his former teammate Andrew Bogut, that could've been a reality.
"He was almost on a plane to Europe"
"He was almost out of the league," Andrew Bogut said. "A lot of people don’t realize, Mark Jackson tried to play him at the three more than the four, and it wasn’t his natural position."
The Warriors took Green 35th overall in the '13 NBA Draft, with many pegging him to be positionless in the NBA. Draymond played power forward at Michigan State University, showing flashes of playmaking ability and displaying a great variety as a defender. However, his frame didn't fit the parameters of your archetypal NBA PF.
Back then, positions in the NBA were much more standardized. You had your guards, your forwards, and your centers, without significant deviations within categories. Frame-wise, Draymond was supposed to play at the three, and that's exactly how he was utilized. Mark Jackson refused to play Draymond "out of position," and the upstroke was this: 4.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 1.3 APG in Dray's first two seasons in the league. That's when Steve Kerr entered the picture, and the rest is history.
Once he got that opportunity from Steve, it kind of all changed. He’s the first to tell you, he was almost on a plane to Europe with the way he was being played earlier in his career.
Andrew Bogut, Damon, Ratto and Kolsky
Kerr's impact on Draymond
Kerr put Draymond at the four, or even at the five, and implemented the system that maximized his qualities as a basketball player. He made Green the distributor on the offensive end and made him the focal point of small-ball, switch-everything defensive scheme, which proved to be the foundation for the style of play dominant in today's day and age.
The famous "Death Lineup" was born, and so was the NBA's latest dynasty. In the following years, Golden State took the league by storm, making five straight Finals appearances and winning three NBA titles. Green won a DPOY award during the span, made 5 All-NBA Defensive teams, was a 2x All-NBA, and became one of the best defenders in the modern NBA era. In short, things turned out great for both him and the Warriors, and it's all thanks to Steve Kerr.
All it takes is for one person to believe in you. Steve Kerr was that guy for Draymond. I wonder how many NBA players weren't as lucky as him.