How Steph Curry taught top draft prospect Jalen Green valuable lessons

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Kendra Andrews
·3 min read
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How Steph taught top draft prospect Green valuable lessons originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Across the Bay Bridge and through the tunnel from where the Warriors play their home games in San Francisco, the G League Ignite team is practicing in Walnut Creek.

When Brian Shaw took the job as the Ignite's head coach, he wanted to take advantage of the proximity to the former NBA champions, having members of the organization come in to talk to his young players. 

Like so many other plans, COVID-19 prevented this from happening.

However, one Ignite player already had the opportunity to work out with a Warriors star. Growing up in Fresno, top NBA draft prospect Jalen Green worked out with Steph Curry when Green still was in high school. It was just one time, but the lessons Green took from Curry and his trainer still resonate with him today. 

"Steph just tells me to keep working," Green told media members during a Zoom press conference Wednesday. "He tries to give me information, as much as he can -- moving without the ball. He moves without the ball a lot.

"He's never stagnant, and that's something in my game I didn't really have."

Curry is a player who Shaw shows film of to his players, including Green, when he wants to highlight how important off-ball movement is. 

"With all that (Curry) can do, he's just as dangerous once he gives the ball up," Shaw said. "Because when you're guarding the ball and he gives the ball up, as a defender you naturally relax. That's when Steph cuts down the lane, he kind of plays dead for a second, then he comes off of another pindown. As a defender, you're like, oh, then you're trying to catch up. That's really dangerous.

"Getting them to understand that at the next level, next year as a rookie, the coach isn't going to hand you the ball, say dribble 17 times until you free yourself up for a shot. You're going to be in a position to do all those little things."

The Warriors could have a shot at adding Green to their roster in the 2021 draft. They have the Minnesota Timberwolves' top-three protected first-round draft pick and based on how the Wolves have looked thus far -- including the Warriors' victory over them Monday night -- there's a chance Minnesota will be right in Golden State's sweet spot. 

The T-Wolves have been bad so far, sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference with a 4-12 record. However, there are a handful of teams in the East that could finish beneath them, such as the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards, that could prevent the T-Wolves from jumping into the top three picks of the draft lottery. 

So, if it works out in the Warriors' favor, they could have a pick anywhere between the fourth and eight spots. 

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Green would be a good selection for the Warriors if he's still on the board when their turn rolls around. Given to the Charlotte Hornets in NBC Sports Bay Area's latest NBA mock draft, the 6-foot-5, 180-pound guard is extremely athletic with All-Star level two-way potential and notes of a young Jaylen Brown. 

Looking at the Warriors' roster, adding another wing would not hurt, especially if Kelly Oubre Jr. doesn't re-sign or is traded. Yes, Green would need development, however, he already is regarded as a superior pro prospect and the Warriors would hopefully not need to rely on him too heavily with the return of Klay Thompson. 

The Warriors, and everyone else, will get their first look at Green in an Ignite uniform when the G League begins its bubble in Orlando on Feb. 10 against Nico Mannion, Jeremy Lin and the Santa Cruz Warriors. 

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OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Charlotte
+200+5.5O 233.5
Golden State
-250-5.5U 233.5