Draymond Green has turned into an indispensable piece for the Golden State Warriors as they attempt to make it back to the NBA Finals this postseason.
Green’s coming-out party over the last two years has been directly tied to the Warriors’ ascension. While Stephen Curry is the explosive force that carries the Warriors, Green’s versatility on both ends of the court makes the Warriors all the more potent.
That Green fell all the way to the Warriors with the 35th pick in the 2012 draft now looks curious, given that he has an argument as a top-10 player in the NBA. However, the trade that landed the Warriors that second-round pick now looks hilarious five years later.
As Marcus Thompson of the San Jose Mercury News recounted, in February 2011, the Warriors traded Brandan Wright and Dan Gadzuric to the then-New Jersey Nets for Troy Murphy and a 2012 second-round pick.
If that doesn’t seem like a groundbreaking trade now, it’s because it had few implications, even at the time. Murphy never played a minute for the Warriors, getting waived within a week, according to Thompson. He then played 90 more games for two different over the next two seasons and has been out of the league since 2013. Ditto for Gadzuric, who played just 16 more games the rest of his career, and has been out of the NBA since 2012. While Wright is still in the NBA, he’s played for four different teams since the 2010-11 season.
Meanwhile, that second-round pick that turned into Green had great importance to the Warriors from get-go. According to Thompson, the Warriors felt the 2012 draft was deep and that there were good players all the way to the 45th pick. Former Warriors GM Larry Riley, who made the trade, told Thompson, “The likelihood of attracting a good free agent to Golden State wasn’t real high, but it’s not unusual for a second-round pick to become a pretty good player. From (picks) 45 through 60, it’s tough. But we placed value on second rounders, especially the first 15 picks of the second round.”
The Warriors still passed over Green twice in that draft, selecting Harrison Barnes seventh and Festus Ezeli 30th before taking Green with the fifth pick in the second round. All three are still prominent players for them.
According to Thompson, Green hasn’t forgotten that draft and the way he slipped to the second round. He reportedly can name all 34 players that were drafted before him, which teams drafted them, and their whereabouts today, whether they’re in the D-League or playing overseas.
In today’s NBA, draft picks are more highly valued than ever, and Green’s story shows that every pick and every detail of even the most forgettable trade can still carry huge implications.
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