This is Earvin’s “Magic” Johnson and Draymond Green. This is at the top of the list. Michigan’s two best-ever NBA players.
This has been the case for some time. But Green’s fourth NBA championship with Golden State last week secured his place there – beating prominent Sparta NBA highlights such as Zach Randolph and Steve Smith.
There are many ways to measure MSU large figures. When I originally ranked the top 50 in 2014 – and every update in that list since then – I only set the criteria for MSU performance and program impact. NBA careers and / or professional potential were insignificant. Green on this list started 11th in my book and is now 13th all-time, sliding two places to make room for Cassius Winston (3) and Denzel Valentine (7). Maybe Green should climb on this list as well, as he continues to influence the program both financially and as an unwavering ambassador.
Here are 12 in front of him: (1) Magic Johnson, (2) Mateen Cleaves, (3) Cassius Winston, (4) Scott Skiles, (5) Steve Smith, (6) Shawn Respert, (7) Denzel Valentine, (8) ) Greg Kelser, (9) Johnny Green, (10) Mike Robinson, (11) Jay Vincent and (12) Morris Peterson.
MORE: MSU’s top 50 rankings for the best basketball players of all time
It’s a brilliant company. But among them, only Magic had a better and more important professional career than Draymond. And it’s no longer close to Draymond and the others. The same goes for the rest of MSU’s top 50 of all time – a list that doesn’t include Randolph in my book or Jaren Jackson Jr. still in MSU.
MORE: Sofa: Cassius Winston fights for his NBA dream two years later, Michigan still in mind
By contrast, here are the ones I consider MSU to be the 13 best NBA players of all time (in parentheses, they are among my top 50 at MSU):
1. Magic Johnson (1)
2. Draymond Green (13)
3. Zach Randolph (NR)
4. Steve Smith (5)
5. Kevin Willis (NR)
6. Johnny Green (9)
7. Jason Richardson (34)
8. Miles Bridges (14)
9. Gary Harris (30)
11. Jay Vincent (11)
12. Eric Snow (38)
13. Jaren Jackson Jr. (NR)
FROM 2017: Sofa: Michigan State NBA All-Time Best Driving Options, Bargains and Falls
Harris is still playing. Bridges and Jackson are still at the top of their careers. I expect both to move higher on this list over the next few years. I am surprised that both will ever catch Draymond, who I think has received the first ballot in the Hall of Fame since the last title race, if he has not already.
Draymond’s four NBA championships are twice the total of the 11 players below him on that list, with Smith and Willis winning the 2003 San Antonio Spurs. Draymond is distinguished by his place as a catalyst for winning in a large team of this or any generation. His ability to both facilitate the attack and defend centers longer than half a foot has played a key role in Warriors’ collective success with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and, for a few years, Kevin Durant. Draymond is rightly considered part of the top three that have dominated the NBA in places over the past eight seasons. Draymond’s ability to attack has allowed Warriors to maximize Curry’s ability to move without the ball.
In recent years, he has been statistically at the pace of his best season – 14.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 7.4 assists per game, 1.4 blocks per game in Warriors’ 73-9 season in 2015. 16. But he remains the soul of this team, a dirty man who comes to his opponents and gives his best to win.
Draymond has been a four-time NBA star tournament, two NBA tournaments and a 2017 League Defender.
Of the former Spartans (apart from Magic), only the second Green, Johnny Green, has four star games.
Randolph made it to the NBA star team twice, in 2010 and 13th. Willis played in a one-star tournament in 1992 and was in the NBA the same year. Smith participated in the Star Game in 1998.
Statistically, Randolph runs on that list in Draymond. Randolph scored an average of more than 20 points five times during his 17-year NBA career and took 10 rebounds. He also did so on some good teams, throwing an average of 22.2 points and 10.8 rebounds in the 2011 Memphis Grizzlies playoffs, with the eighth-ranked Grizzlies taking sixth place in San Antonio and then falling to Oklahoma City in the next round. seven. Randolph had 31 points in the 6th game against Spurs.
Two years later, he scored an average of 17.4 points and 10 rebounds in the afternoon when the Grizzlies made it to the conference finals.
Smith scored an average of more than 20 points in the game three times during the peak of his career as a batting guard for the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks, becoming 47,000% of the time at Spurs. 3-point trials in 2001-2002 before winning the title the following season.
He was the top scorer in the three Hawks teams in the second round of the playoffs, averaging 17.1 points for the Portland team that reached the final of the 2000 Western Conference.
Smith and Randolph were very good-big NBA players at their peaks. They were unlucky to play with Curry and Thompson or Durant. There is no doubt that Draymond was given the perfect hand in the NBA. However, he has made the most of it. And without him, Warriors of that era don’t have four championships, if at all.
The Warriors have barely 0,500 teams in the games, which Draymond has missed during his career. When he plays, they win almost 70% of the time.
In an additional context, for example, between 2015 and 2016, Draymond’s winnings exceeded the replacement amount of 23.5 according to FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR rating. It was second only to Curry in the NBA. Next behind Draymond was LeBron James 19.9 and then Kawhi Leonard 17.5.
Not bad for the second round choice, who clearly didn’t fit into the NBA 10 years ago when he left MSU.
FROM 2021: Q&A: Smarter, Senior Draymond Green thinks about his love for MSU and what’s next for him
Contact Graham Couch at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Graham_Couch.
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