Former Spartan standout and Saginaw native Draymond Green made his return back to Michigan on Wednesday, helping the Golden State Warriors open their longest road trip of the season with a victory over the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Green is embracing his role with the Warriors this season. In just under 12 minutes off the bench on Wednesday, Green scored 2 points on 1 of 4 shooting and had a team-high three blocks to help the Warriors to the 104-97 win.
Here is the complete excerpt of an interview with Green after shootaround on Wednesday morning.
WHAT IT’S LIKE BEING A ROOKIE
Draymond: “I think it’s very similar to the way I came in at Michigan State. After a couple very good years at Michigan State I think a lot of people forgot my first year at Michigan State to where I was a complete role player. I had to come in and bring some energy off the bench, had to come in to defend, take charges. It just reminds me a lot of that role but at the same time it’s a complete different level. I’m just trying to make sure I come in and bring energy. It’s surprising to me how much people just don’t play with energy. I just try to come in and make sure I bring energy no matter what the situation is.”
ON GETTING USED TO RIGORS OF NBA
Draymond: “I’m definitely getting used to that but this is a little bit different coming all the way to the East Coast on a seven-game road trip. I’m definitely looking forward to this and getting the experience of this first road trip of my career. We’re just looking to come out of here with a pretty good record, trying to come over here and take care of business and just try to gain some respect. I’m definitely getting used to it but this will be a little different being that it’s a 15 day, 12 day road trip.
ON BEING BACK HOME
Draymond: “It’s great coming back home. I came to a lot of these games coming up and all through high school and through college. Just to come back here and actually to be playing in a game here back at home is a great feeling. I’m definitely looking forward to it but trying to keeping my emotions channeled as well.”
ON COOLEST PART OF BEING IN NBA
Draymond: “I think the coolest part is having so many games. In college you have two games a week so you’re practicing four days a week and sometimes you have one game and you’re practicing five or six days. I think the best part about it is just having all these games.
“I think the best part is just being blessed to be here. There are so many guys who want to make it to this level and just the reality of it is it can’t happen. Just to be one of 400 guys or whatever it is – to be one of 450 – it sounds like a lot but when you think about it in the grand scheme of things its probably less than one percent. Just to be one of those guys I think is the best thing.”
ON HARDEST PART ABOUT NBA AND BIGGEST ADJUSTMENT
Draymond: “Playing all those games in a short amount of time. You’ve got two games back to back and you might have a day off and then two more games so I think that’s the main thing is just trying to adjust to the schedule. You want to play in all those games but you have to make sure you do the proper things for recovery, eating right, stretch and doing all those things that it takes to recover and put your body in the best situation to succeed. Sometimes you forget about that and you don’t feel like stretching and you don’t feel like doing this but the reality of it is if you don’t do those things it’s just gonna shorten your career and it’s gonna take a toll on your body with all these games and with all the travel as well. I think that’s been the toughest part.”
ON ADJUSTING TO THE NBA GAME AND HIS INCREASE IN PLAYING TIME
Draymond: “I’m adjusting great. I’m definitely starting to get more and more comfortable each game. I think that’s the most important thing is just constantly improving. I’m getting more and more comfortable but like I said I’ve been in a position before where the offense didn’t run through me. It’s just about coming out and playing your role. Who knows years down the line it may. It may not. You never know but I just want to play my role and focus on what we’ve got going right now.
We have great scorers on our team so I’m not needed to score on this team. I think if I need to go get a bucket that I can. But that’s not my role on this team. My role is to come in and defend, rebound and bring some toughness, bring some energy. And that’s what I’m going to do because at the end of the day those are the things that are going to help you win. To be that guy to do those little things and try to help the team win, I definitely embrace the role.”
ON IF IT’S TOUGH BEING A QUIET ROOKIE
Draymond: “I’m not quiet. I can’t be quiet. It’s just not really in my DNA. One thing I don’t want to do is just change who I am. For one I don’t know as much. I may know a bunch on the college level but in here it’s a completely different game. You still gotta learn, but things rthat I see or I know I can help someone with I’m definitely going to say something. I’m not just going to be quiet.
“That’s definitely not the case with me. I’m gonna talk and not overstep my boundaries as well. You’ve got guys that have been here eight, nine, 10, 11 and 12 years, four or five that know a lot more than me. I just have to make sure that when I see something or I feel that there’s something to be said I say it and also make sure I respect those boundaries.”
ON HELPING CHANGE CULTURE WITH WARRIORS
Draymond: “I’m definitely trying to help change the culture. That’s one thing we felt we brought in with this rookie class and some of the guys we’ve signed. We already had guys on this team that had won with previous teams or at their colleges but just didn’t have the pieces. I think now we’ve got the pieces and we’re definitely putting it together.”
ON WHAT WARRIORS ROOKIE CLASS HAS BROUGHT TO TEAM
Draymond: “I think we’ve been definitely doing a good job of contributing at what it is we need to contribute to and just making sure that no matter what the situation is – some of Harrison’s (Barnes) role is to score and he’s playing that role. I think we’ve just been doing a great job of playing our roles and contributing to the team in any way we can.”
ON HOW PLAYING AT MSU AND FOR IZZO HELPED PREPARE HIM FOR NBA
“I think that’s definitely helped me a lot being able to get that experience under Coach Izzo and play for a great coach like that and learn so much. I think that’s helped me a lot.”