Nobody can play sports at the highest level without talent. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of people who have a better innate understanding of basketball than the guys who actually get paid to play but they just aren’t talented enough to do it.
However, every year guys get drafted in to the NBA with astonishing physical gifts, only to wash out after a few years. They don’t understand the intellectual side of the game well enough to keep up with guys who do.
Which brings us to Draymond Green.
We loved him at Michigan State and couldn’t believe how far down the draft he fell, all the way to Golden State at #35. Some of the guys who went ahead of him: Thomas Robinson, Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall, Fab Melo and Festus Ezeli. Barnes and Ezeli were both taken by the Warriors ahead of Green.
Green has built a Hall of Fame career with the Warriors, doing big man things that no 6-6, 230 lb. guy should be able to do.
Like Dennis Rodman, Green has used his mind and spirit to compensate for his size and, unlike Rodman, fairly average athleticism.
Take this play against Indiana for instance. The Pacers were down 102-100 with 2.2 seconds and no timeouts left. So Green tossed the ball to Indiana under Golden State’s basket. It was totally unexpected and the Pacers didn’t have time enough to get a shot off. If it was designed, is was a great move on coach Steve Kerr’s part and well executed by Green. And if it was on Green, it’s off the charts smart.