In the 2017 edition of ESPN’s #NBArank, Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green finished No. 10 on the list — an impressive leap from his No. 334 rank before his rookie campaign in 2012.
Green has never averaged more than 15 points or double-digit rebounds, but his do-it-all skill set has translated into two NBA championships, two All-Star appearances, two All-NBA Team selections, three All-Defensive first-team honors, a Defensive Player of the Year award and an Olympic gold medal.
It’s been quite an illustrious career already for the tweener who was the 35th pick in the draft.
In a Q&A with ESPN, Green discussed what it has taken for him to become a top-10 player in the league, his aspirations for the remainder of his career and his thoughts on Carmelo Anthony‘s highly debated place in the rankings.
Chris Haynes: When you entered the league, did you believe that someday you might be considered one of the 10 best players in the NBA?
Draymond Green: I can’t say that when I stepped into the league I thought that. I think coming into the league, you just want to figure it out after being a second-round pick. My whole mindset is just to prove everyone wrong. I just wanted to show that I belonged and tried to have a good career. I can’t say that I foresaw this, but it’s a special thing with all the hard work.
I can remember as my years went on, people close to me let me see that I could really be good in this league. I used to say to my Nike rep Adrian Stelly, I said, “Stells, man, I think I can be an All-Star in this league.” He was like, ‘Man, do it. I think you can, too,” and I became an All-Star.
But it was a progression. It wasn’t like coming to the league and I’m like, “Yeah, I’m going to be an All-Star” or yes, “Someday people are going to view me as a top-10 player in this league.” You just want to be good and let the rest kind of handle itself.