It didn’t take long for Draymond Green to become one of the fan favorites at Oracle Arena. His rookie season was a learning experience; fans hated watching him shoot, but still loved seeing him on the court.
Things should work out better for Green – and the Warriors – in 2013-14. Some people might hate it when players are characterized by their motor, toughness, or energy, but those are three things Green relies on when he steps on the court.
I fully expect Green to follow up his shaky rookie season with an impressive sophomore campaign. Here are three predictions for the Warriors’ forward:
1. He Becomes the Warriors’ Sixth Man
With the addition of Andre Iguodala, either Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson is expected to become the sixth man for the Warriors.
Last season, Jarrett Jack filled that role because he was effective with the ball in his hands and his presence allowed Stephen Curry to play off the ball. His departure leaves a hole at the backup point guard spot, but players like Toney Douglas and Kent Bazemore have plenty to prove before they can step into Jack’s shoes.
Iguodala will probably start the season as the secondary ball-handler. That still leaves room for Barnes and Thompson to swap on and off the court. However, the Warriors have depth at the wing positions. They aren’t as lucky when it comes to big men.
Marreese Speights could easily be the first big man off the bench, but Green has already carved a niche on the team. It remains to be seen if Speights can be the second coming of Carl Landry.
Many people overlook the NBA’s Summer League, but Green impressed me in the handful of game he played in. He knows how to lead a team, is always on the floor fighting for loose balls and can make big plays or hit big shots.
Green’s style of play isn’t always pretty, but he always finds a way to get the job done. He will always have a place in the Warriors’ rotation, but he has an outside shot of moving up the ladder to the sixth spot.
2. He Shoots Above 45 Percent from the Floor
Green shot slightly under 33 percent from the floor last season – not a good number. Although he improved his shooting by 10 percent in the playoffs, his shooting is still a concern.
Green was a capable shooter in college, but his game has taken time to transition to the speed of the NBA. A 12 percent increase from one year to the next would be extremely impressive, but I think Green can do it.
In the playoffs, Draymond was forced to take on a larger role in the Warriors’ offense – and he adapted. He started to take what the defense was giving him and knocked down open shots.
Anyone who plays with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson is going to be left open. As long as Green doesn’t try to force anything, his shooting percentage should increase a great amount.
3. He Will Be in the Rising Stars Challenge
This is a bit of an odd prediction, but it’s one I can see happening. The Rising Stars Challenge takes place during All-Star weekend; it’s a game between two teams of rookies and sophomore players.
Green is going to need to show a lot of promise in order to be selected. The good news is he plays for a team that should be in the spotlight next year. If he can contribute, people will notice and Green will gain some popularity.
Although Green isn’t great at any one thing, he can do a bit of everything. He knows how to score, he can get to the line, he looks for teammates, he has a knack for pulling down rebounds, and he is a solid defender.
If Green can make the roster, it will be because he has emerged as one of the better young players in the league.