Take one look at Draymond Green's numbers and you can't help but wonder why he isn't being talked about as a lock for the first round of the NBA Draft. The Michigan State forward averaged 16.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game as a senior and led the Spartans to a one seed in the NCAA Tournament before falling to Louisville. His game is polished. He can score, pass and rip down rebounds consistently right now.
But Green, generously listed at 6-foot-7, will likely be characterized as a man without a position at the next level. While he has bulk, he is a tweener at his height – too short to play power forward and likely not athletic enough to score on (or guard) NBA small forwards. Along with his height, his lack of explosiveness is a limiting attribute for Green.
What Green has going for him is that he is ready to help an NBA team right now. His development as a basketball player is nearly complete. Despite playing as a power forward type for the Spartans, Green has surprising range and will likely be able to knock down NBA threes. He passes well for his size and position and he was a great college rebounder. Whether that trait translates to the NBA with his height remains to be seen, but he will be no less than above average on the glass.
After four years at Michigan State, he has developed an excellent basketball IQ and is known as a coachable player and an excellent leader. Green is the quintessential type of guy that will be selected by a good team at the end of the first round and will contribute right away – the Spurs seem to have made a living using this strategy for more than a decade now. Green's pull up and post game leave plenty to be desired, but his considerable intangibles should be enough to land him in the late first or early second round.
Unfortunately, the advanced development of Green's game will likely be a detractor from his draft stock for most teams. There isn't much room for growth in his game – he is likely close to a finished product. You can't teach or develop athleticism and Green clearly plays below the rim. His lack of explosiveness and his porous defense renders his ceiling an NBA bench player. Teams in the lottery or that will lose in the first round of the playoffs likely need to make big leaps to compete for a title. Green will not be the type of guy that can do that for them.
But Green can contribute to a team in a similar way to how DeJuan Blair does for the Spurs. While Green and Blair have different games – Green is a shooter/scorer and Blair is a bruiser/rebounder – they are both undersized tweeners. Green should be able to carve out a niche career if he lands in the right situation like Blair did, but if he doesn't he will struggle due to physical and athletic limitations.