Saturday, August 3, 2019
Saturday Slam: Draymond Green is the modern version of Dennis Rodman
Earlier today, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors have agreed on a four-year, $100M contract extension, giving him a five-year $118M contract in full. Green could have been an unrestricted free agent next summer, but instead has decided to re-up with the Warriors while taking a potential pay cut in the process. Had he hit unrestricted free agency next year, he could have been looking at a $235M contract, which is just mind boggling.
Rather than doing a standard "Here's why he's worth or not worth this contract" type of article, I wanted to explain why Green is the modern version of Dennis Rodman. While known more for his antics and colorful hairstyles, Rodman was an absolute beast on the court. He won five NBA championships, was named Defensive Player of the Year twice, made two All-Star appearances, was named to seven NBA All-Defensive First Teams, and led the NBA in rebounding seven years in a row from 1992-1998. He was the epitome of tenacity, hustle, and determination.
While he doesn't have his hair dyed in different colors every night with tons of tattoos and body piercings, there's actually a lot that Green has in common with Rodman. Through his first seven seasons in the NBA, Green has three NBA championships, three All-Star appearances, three NBA All-Defensive First Team honors, and one NBA Defensive Player of the Year honor. When you consider the pace he's on, Green could walk out with a Hall of Fame resume very similar or perhaps even better than Rodman's.
In addition to the accolades, Green plays a pretty similar style as "The Worm." They both pride themselves on their energy, passion, and ability to get in the heads of their opponents. They like to annoy opposing teams and are generally only liked by fans of their team. On top of that, both are undersized post players (6'7", 220-230 pounds) who pride themselves on shutting down bigger players due to their hustle, determination, and grit. One final commonality they share is they were early second round draft choices. Rodman went #27 overall in the second round to the Detroit Pistons in the 1986 NBA Draft while Green went #35 overall in the second round to the Golden State Warriors in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Both are players who overachieved and accomplished far more than anyone thought they would. The odds of lasting in the NBA beyond three years as a second round pick are slim while the odds of having a Hall of Fame career as a second round pick are even lower. If you're a second round pick, you're not even guaranteed to make the team. To go from that to Hall of Fame level is nothing short of amazing.
While there are a ton of similarities between these two players, there are some key differences. First, Rodman was a much better rebounder than Green. For his career, Rodman averaged 13.1 rebounds per game while averaging as much as 18.7 rebounds per game in a single season (1991-92). Green in contrast has averaged 6.9 rebounds per game for his career, averaging as much as 9.5 rebounds per game in a single season (2015-16).
Another key difference between the two players is Green is much better at blocking shots and disrupting passing lanes. For his career, Green has averaged 1.4 steals per game and 1.1 blocks per game. He averaged a league best 2.0 steals per game in the 2016-17 season while averaging 1.4 blocks per game in both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. Rodman in contrast averaged 0.7 steals and 0.6 blocks per game for his career, never averaging more than .9 steals or blocks per game in any season.
One final key difference is Green is a much better scorer. Green has averaged 9.1 points per game for his career, averaging a career-high 14.0 points per game in the 2015-16 season. Between the 2014-15 and 2017-18 season, Green had double-digit scoring averages (11.7 points per game). To go along with that scoring, Green has developed a reliable 3-point shot, shooting 32.3% from beyond the arc for his career. Rodman in contrast had just one season scoring in double figures per game (11.6 points per game in the 1987-88 season). His career scoring average is a modest 7.3 points per game and he never developed a reliable 3-point shot, shooting 23.1% from beyond the arc on 0.4 attempts per game for his career.
In terms of who would you rather have on your team, you really can't go wrong with either player. Green gives you a more well-rounded attack with his scoring, shot blocking, steals, and solid rebounding while Rodman gives you a ridiculous rebounding attack backed up by adequate scoring, and solid all-around defense. In some ways, both players are products of their own eras. Green plays in an era where players are expected to be more well-rounded while Rodman played in an era that allowed players to carve out more of a niche. Rodman found his niche with rebounding and thrived as a result. Had Green played in Rodman's era, he probably would have been much more of a specialist while had Rodman played in today's era, he would have probably been a more well-rounded player.
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