Draymond Green is in a staring contest with history right now, and usually, history doesn’t blink first.
For the Golden State Warriors second-rounder, failure is practically assured.
But why? How can we be so certain of Green’s fate at such an early juncture in his career?
The answer is simple.
Green comes from the most historically cursed category of NBA players: He’s a Consensus First Team All-American who wasn’t drafted in the first round.
The catalog of lost souls who make up this group reads more like a “Where Are They Now?” list.
Taking just the last 10 years as an example, the small group to which Green now belongs includes the following luminaries:
2002: Steve Logan
2004: Lawrence Roberts, Andre Emmett, Ryan Gomes
2005: Dee Brown
2008: Chris Douglas-Roberts
2009: DeJuan Blair
2010: Sheron Collins (undrafted), Scottie Reynolds (undrafted)
Every one of the players above was, at some point, regarded as the best collegiate player at his position.
Not one of them has ever been named to an All-Star team. Most of them sputtered out of the NBA quickly, and some never made it to the league at all.
It’s a sad list, really. It’s a stark representation of heartbreak and disappointment.
For all these players, success was a constant throughout their careers, until the NBA decided—brutally and abruptly—that they weren’t good enough.
In fairness, I’ll grant that at times, DeJuan Blair has been a decent role-player for the Spurs.
However, his minutes have diminished as the shortcomings he hid in college have become more obvious in San Antonio. He can’t defend, is undersized and may not be around much longer.
In last year’s playoffs, Blair couldn’t get off the bench.
Blair doesn’t really belong on the above list at all, as his fall in the draft was more attributable to his lack of ACLs than anything else.
Ryan Gomes has had the longest career of everyone listed (seven seasons), but he’s never been a difference-maker. He’s barely clinging to a job now, as his PER has declined in each of the last five years. Last season, it was an abysmal 4.44.
There might be a faint glimmer of hope for Green, though.
His mixture of skills is probably the best of anyone mentioned above.
As a senior at Michigan State, he showed he could shoot (38 percent on threes), pass (3.8 assists per game) and rebound (10.6 per game). He even averaged a block and 1.5 steals. So, Green is extremely well-rounded.
Moreover, scouts are virtually unanimous in saying that he knows how to play and has a terrific basketball IQ.
What he doesn’t have is a position.
There are concerns that Green, generously listed at 6’8” and 236 pounds, won’t be able to defend either forward spot in the NBA—not to mention that he’s had problems with his conditioning in the past.
So, the odds are stacked against Draymond Green.
If he puts together a solid career, he’ll buck the trend that no player like him has ever been able to.
For what it’s worth, I’m hopeful Green can break the mold into which he’s been cast. Maybe all 30 NBA GMs were wrong to let him slip out of the first round. It’s possible.
But history is standing firmly in front of Green, dispassionately staring him down.
We’ll see if Green’s the first to make history blink.