Can you imagine the Dubs’ dynasty without Draymond Green? It could have been a reality, according to Andrew Bogut.
The former Warriors center, who played with Green from 2013-16 and in 2019 at Golden State, revealed an interesting anecdote Tuesday while chatting with Damon, Ratto and Kolsky on 95.7 The Game.
“[Green] was almost out of the league,” Bogut said. “A lot of people don’t realize, [coach] Mark Jackson tried to play him at the three more than the four and it wasn’t his natural position.”
Green slipped to the No. 35 overall pick in the 2013 Draft, with many pegging him to be positionless in the NBA. The beefy 6-foot-6 Green played power forward during his decorated career at Michigan State, but Jackson tried to move him farther away from the basket at small forward.
He was a classic 'tweener with nowhere to go. Then Steve Kerr entered the picture, taking over for Jackson before the 2015 season.
Green took on a bigger role and was one-fifth of the “Death Lineup” that helped the Warriors claim their first title in 40 years. Crazy to think how Green could have been playing for a random team in the EuroLeague instead of hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy with the Warriors.
“He struggled his rookie year to find what his role was in the NBA and within the team,” Bogut said. “Once he got that opportunity from Steve, it kind of all changed. He’s the first to tell you, he was almost on a plane to Europe with the way he was being played earlier in his career.”
As if Dub Nation needed another reason to love Kerr.
It’s rare for a player to head to Europe and come back to make a dent in the NBA. Had Green been compelled to play overseas to keep his career afloat, he likely never would have become a three-time champion, three-time All-Star, the 2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year, or a five-time selection to the All-NBA defensive team.
Green started just 13 games his first two seasons under Jackson, averaging 4.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest. He shot only 37.8 percent from the field and 2.7 percent from 3-point land. In Kerr’s first year at the helm, Green made 79 starts, recorded 18 double-doubles and one triple-double while becoming a championship glue guy.
“To bounce back as a player who is earning the salary he has, all-defensive team, he’s been a vital part of winning championships,” Bogut said. “It’s a great story.”
Bogut played on the 73-9 Warriors squad from 2016 but was traded to the Dallas Mavericks later that summer. Green reunited with the veteran center in 2019 when Bogut signed with the Warriors in March before their run to the Finals against the Toronto Raptors.
“We still text back and forth from time to time,” Bogut said. “I’m not going to lie, we definitely got into every now and then. Draymond’s that kind of guy, where he’s going to get into it if he thinks that bulls*** is going on. I’m the same. We had disagreements at times during games, at practice, but we’re pretty good friends. We both have a pretty fond love for playing poker, so we played poker on the plane a lot. Our relationship is great.”
Nowadays, Bogut is keeping busy with his independent Rogue Bogues podcast. He hopes Green joins him in the media once his playing career is over.
“His journey itself is such an unbelievable one,” Bogut said. “Hopefully he writes a book one day or does a podcast kind of like I’m doing.”