When you watch Golden State Warriors All-Star Draymond Green play, it’s still really hard to even comprehend that he was a second-round pick.
You’ve probably all heard the story a million times by now and so have we: people doubted him coming out of Michigan State, he fell to the second round, and through a combination of hard work and just being completely misjudged, Green became a perennial All-NBA Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Even as more games pass and he further adds to his body of work, it’s really difficult to process just how amazing that story is.
And when you look at the Warriors’ current roster, he’s not the only scouting success.
Patrick McCaw is the most recent success story. As a second-round rookie, McCaw has earned himself 20 regular season starts and three playoff starts for one of the best teams in the modern NBA.
James Michael McAdoo was an undrafted Summer League signing in 2014. Although he hasn’t experienced the same level of success, he has earned himself a spot on a historically good roster.
And how could we forget Ian Clark, who was also undrafted? He caught on with the Warriors in Summer League in 2013, won Summer League MVP, and took a circuitous route through the league before finding a home with the Warriors.
Those success stories of finding talent in the second round and are why it’s worth paying attention to the 2017 NBA Draft even though the Warriors don’t have a pick.
Additionally, it’s worth tracking who the Warriors are working out in advance of the 2017 NBA Draft, even if they don’t currently own a pick.
You may recall that the Warriors acquired McCaw through a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks for $2.4 million in cash. There’s no reason we couldn’t see them do the same this year. So, especially as we consider the salary cap implications of keeping the Warriors’ veteran core together, it’s probably worth monitoring who the Warriors are working out so we can start studying up on who that next diamond in the rough might be.
Though the Warriors don't have a pick in the draft, they're still working out prospects. Just saw Nevada's Cam Oliver, a likely 2nd-rounder.— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) June 3, 2017
Most recently, Connor Letourneau of the S.F. Chronicle reported that the Warriors have worked out Nevada forward Cameron Oliver and Iowa guard Peter Jok — both of whom are considered second-round picks. These aren’t exactly prospects who are wowing anyone right now.
Jeremiah Davis of The Gazette reported that Jok probably needed a better combine performance to really make a mark. Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal reported that Oliver, who has modeled his game off Green and Paul Millsap, posted impressive athletic numbers, but probably didn’t have the type of combine that would vault him into coveted prospect status.
Yet, part of the Warriors’ past second-round success for guys like Clark or Green — or even first rounders, like Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson — is finding guys with the work ethic that it takes to succeed. It’s definitely the thing that fans can’t assess and it’s probably one of the most difficult things for scouts to judge as well.
You can talk to as many coaches, friends, and teammates in a player’s life, but you don’t really know how much drive that person will have and exactly how hard he will work after signing that first contract until he’s actually in that position.
One of the things that’s most exciting about the Warriors right now — even as some clowns on Twitter are claiming that they’re ruining the NBA — is that they’ve made all the right moves in assessing talent in recent years.
Here’s hoping they can do so again.