Michigan State Basketball: Can Draymond Green and Keith Appling Play in the NBA?

Zach SmithContributor IFebruary 17, 2012

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 15: Draymond Green #23 of the Michigan State Spartens drives to the basket against Mason Plumlee #5 of the Duke Blue Devils 5quare Garden on November 15, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

For Michigan State Spartans basketball players Draymond Green and Keith Appling, their basketball careers don’t have to end when they graduate.

Both have the skill to make it at the next level.

Shooting big men are becoming more essential for NBA teams, with the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Bosh, Kevin Love and Lamar Odom playing key roles.

At 6’7” and 230 pounds, Green is definitely a big man. He shoots 45 percent while hitting 37 percent of his three-pointers, putting him better than many players his size.

In the game versus Wisconsin on Thursday, he hit two big three-pointers that brought the crowd back into the game and helped the Spartans cruise to a 69-55 victory.

He ended the game with 20 points and 10 rebounds, his Big-Ten-leading 14th double-double of the season.

With the stats that he has put up this year and the leadership ability he has shown in the locker room, Green has the size and the skill to be an asset to any NBA team.

Appling has a different projection than Green does.

Not only is he still a sophomore, he is also small for his position.

Appling took over as starting point guard after Kalin Lucas graduated last year.

Lucas was a two-time MVP of the team and 2009 Big Ten Player of the Year. He was bigger, stronger and more talented than Appling, yet he wasn't drafted and is currently playing in Turkey.

For Appling to be an NBA prospect, he has to take control of the team next year after Green graduates and show that he can be the leader much like Lucas was.

Appling does have a great jump shot going for him. On campus, he is known as “Mr. Smooth” for his silky shot and calm head under pressure.

He is also one of the best defenders on the team.

In the Wisconsin game, Appling held Wisconsin’s talented point guard Jordan Taylor to just two points.

Both Green and Appling have the ability to make a team in the NBA, they just need to work hard and focus on the goal at hand.