COMMENTARY| It's probably best that Draymond Green wasn't selected in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft -- although he was viewed as a potential candidate for such a pick.
As luck would have it, Green, a former Michigan State Spartans star, was drafted 35th overall by the Golden State Warriors. That was on the far end of Green's draft forecast, as many thought he would be taken somewhere in the range of picks 20-35.
The 2012 Big Ten Player of the Year came into Michigan State as a two-time Michigan High School Athletic Association basketball champion. A back-to-back one, at that. Some didn't think he'd see the floor much, while others thought Green could develop into a serviceable player.
But one of the program's greatest? Not many were thinking that four years ago. Green, known as "Day-Day" to the Spartans faithful, flexed his intelligence while forging himself into one of the premier floor generals in Michigan State history -- if not the best. Although he didn't win a national title like Mateen Cleaves, who is viewed as Michigan State's top leader by some, Green did stamp a legacy that will be hard to match.
Green recently said he was OK with not being picked in the first round of the NBA Draft. Maybe it was a stroke of luck.
"I didn't go in the first round. So be it. That's a blessing for me," Green told the Detroit Free Press.
Not being one of the first selected takes pressure off Green. He's had enough of that during college. But he's the type of player who thrives when it's all on the line. It would be interesting to see statisticians come up with a "willpower" metric. Green would have undoubtedly led the NCAA in that category as a senior. How many of the Spartans' wins were due to Green's double-doubles? How many were due to work ethic and refusal to back down?
The answer is: Most of them.
Entering the Association with a chip on his shoulder is probably best for Green, a 6-foot-7 in-betweener. He'll play the three for the Warriors, maybe a little power forward. He may even handle the ball from time to time. There aren't many 235-pound point guards in the world... perhaps he could make that work. Green showed a few Big Ten guards how to set the tempo during his illustrious career under coach Tom Izzo.
The general feeling about Green's draft status was that he would become the first Spartans player since Maurice Ager and Shannon Brown to go in the first round. Ager didn't dazzle in the NBA, but he found a career in music production. Brown has bounced around, finding roles as an explosive dunker with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns.
The last Spartans to play for the Warriors, players worth noting, were Flint's Charlie Bell, a member of the 2000 national title team, and Jason Richardson, the Saginaw man with spring-loaded legs and an affinity for making rims ache in pain.
Green does have a lot to prove. He has to prove himself in the league; he has to show that his game, which has matured greatly, can translate well into the pro ranks. It should. He may not be a star -- no one is really expecting him to be -- but he can be a perennial contributor who finds success in whatever role he undertakes.
Adam Biggers has followed NCAA basketball for over 20 years, specifically the Michigan State Spartans. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.