Golden State Warriors center Draymond Green (23) reacts after scoring a layup and drawing the foul on Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu (8) during the first quarter of Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference Finals on May 16, 2019 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. (Chris Victorio | Special to S.F. Examiner)

Draymond Green tickled by newly-accurate NBA height

Golden State Warriors tweener forward vindicated by measurement

CHASE CENTER — Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has long stated that he thinks forward Draymond Green is closer to 6-foot-5 than his listed 6-foot-7.

When the NBA mandated that new, legitimate height measurements taken in training camp this week be publicly announced, Green — who has played center in Golden State’s small ball lineup — claimed a measure of vindication: Without shoes, he checked in at 6-foot-6, which means that in sneakers, he’s 6-foot-7.

One of the most versatile defenders in the NBA, Green was once obsessed with size, and rightly so; the NBA used to draft for positions based on height as much as talent. Now, being a “tweener” is now an asset, not a demerit, and that’s largely because of Green.

“I actually used to care, because it did matter when I got drafted and stuff,” said Green, who used to take pride in being able to rattle off all 34 players taken ahead of him in the 2012 NBA Draft. “But I don’t care anymore now. I don’t care if the whole world knows I’m 6-4. It doesn’t matter anymore, at this point. Actually, I’m not 6-4, but you get my gist. They’re not going to re-draft me or anything like that. I’ve shown what I can do with the height I have. Who cares now?”

Despite being measured at 6-foot-5 3/4 at the 2012 NBA Combine, Green has averaged nearly a double-double during the postseason over the course of his career (12.5 points, 9.3 rebounds), and has been among the best defenders in the NBA for the last five years, earning Defensive Player of the Year in 2017, making three All-Star appearances and being a core member of a team that went to five straight NBA Finals and won three titles.

Green posted a video of his measurement on Instagram on Wednesday, “For all y’all talking about I’m 6-5,” including Kerr. His brother laughed.

“I sort of laughed about it,” Kerr said at practice on Wednesday. “I’ve talked to Draymond every day for five years. They keep introducing him at 6-7, and it looks like he’s 2 inches taller than me. I’m 6-2 1/2. This has been going on forever. Every player wants to be taller. It doesn’t matter. If a guy can play. He can play. I don’t care how tall Draymond is. He’s pretty damn good.”

Green’s success in Kerr’s system — which relies on defensive switching and pass-happy, motion offense — has opened the door for other so-called tweeners. In the 2017 draft, 6-foot-4, 195-pound Markelle Fultz went No. 1 as a combo guard. In 2016, Ben Simmons was picked No. 1 overall as a point forward. Few knew where the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum — at 6-foot-8, 208 pounds — would wind up: Slight power forward, or guard? Like Green, he’s wound up at small forward.

On Thursday, before Golden State’s second preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Green said today’s NBA is more about length, anyway. He paused, considering a joke. To go along with his basketball IQ and tenacity on the defensive end, he also boasts a 7-1 1/4 wingspan, and an 8-10 standing reach.

“I have very long arms, so it works out,” Green said.

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