Hot lingo among the internet world when discussing a player similar to one from years past is to refer to said player as “so-and-so 2.0.” It is a tech term for an upgrade.
Well, Draymond Green of Michigan State seems to be Anthony Mason 2.0.
Green is not left-handed, and it took a long time before Mason became a trusted jump shooter. But Green is an excellent combination of size and skill. He possesses the rare combination of post-up ability at the 3/4 position and is a highly capable passer from the post.
Green reads double-teams very quickly and gets the ball out of his hands and into the hands of a teammate. He can also turn and shoot a well-balanced fade-away jump shot that can negate double–teams. In many ways, his game makes him an absolute throwback.
Although not a plus finisher at the rim or mid-range, when Green is in rhythm he can cause double- teams creating ball rotation and open looks for teammates.
When Pat Riley left the Knicks, Don Nelson injected Nelly-Ball at the Garden and installed Mason – a former project uncovered by Riley – as his “point foward.” Mason was given the ball in the post early in the shot clock, allowing him to utilize his passing ability, court awareness and decision-making.
While that didn’t go over well with the Knicks – especially Patrick Ewing – it made Mason a star player who received a bigger contract after being dealt for Larry Johnson that offseason.
Green fits the mold of an offensive player who causes matchup nightmares for opposing coaches. If you guard him with length, GGreen relies on his strength. If you challenge him with strength and size, he can drag bigs away from the basket and make face-up jumpers (40% from the arc ) or provide the space for guards to get in the lane and create.
Green is a beast on the glass, posting 12 or more rebounds in six of his last seven games and pulling down 10.5 for the season. He’s not a great post defender and struggles on the perimeter guarding faster forwards. He also lacks the close-out ability on jump shooters that teams look for in combo forwards.
MSU coach Tom Izzo has developed many players for the pro game and has high praise for Green, who is just two wins away from his third Final Four in four years.
“He’s by far the best leader we’ve had here since Mateen (Cleaves),” Izzo said of Green.
High praise for a player with a complete offensive skill set.
- Matchup nightmare. Can post small SFs and drag PFs away from the basket
- Can be a pass-first post presence thanks to gifted court vision/awareness
- Plays for Tom Izzo
- Understands importance of ball movement and closing defensive possessionsWEAKNESSES
- Defined defensive position. Liability in matchups?
- Finishing ability 10 feet and in, even in 1-on-1 situations
- Average ballhandler with limited breakdown moves while facing up
Tommy Dee is the founder of TheKnicksBlog, editor of CHARGED Magazine and is a regional scout for Marty Blake and Associates. Follow him on Twitter.