When an intelligent player is drafted by a smart team, usually it's not dumb luck, it's destiny.
With that in mind, Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors hope they were meant for each other.
They hope it's a mutually beneficial match of a player with a high basketball IQ that helps mitigate his supposed physical shortcomings, and a franchise with limited resources that aims to improve by finding underappreciated players who fit the team's system and culture.
Green, a 6-foot-7-inch Michigan State product who went to the Final Four in his first two years and averaged 16.2 points and 10.6 rebounds as a senior, dropped out of the first round and the Warriors happily snapped him up with the 35th pick in last month's NBA Draft.
Having selected North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes at No. 7 and Vanderbilt center Festus Ezeli at No. 30, Golden State might have made the biggest steal of the draft when it called Green's name.
"It never concerned me," said Green, who as a second-round selection isn't guaranteed anything financially. "I understand it's a business, and it's smarter for them to take Festus at No. 30 and me at 35 because they know I'm still probably going to be there.
"But even though I didn't get guaranteed money by not going in the first round, I'm not offended. All it's going to do is make me work harder to prove to the Warriors they did the right thing in taking me."
Green made a positive impression in his debut Friday in the NBA Summer League at Cox Pavilion. Playing 22 minutes, mostly at small forward, he finished with nine points and nine rebounds in the Warriors' 90-50 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
"At this level, it's all about knowing your role and adapting to it," Green said. "I'm here to play good defense, rebound, take care of the ball and score when they need me to.
"We've got plenty of guys on this team who can score. But I've never seen the best defender not play. I've never seen the best rebounder not play. If I take care of my business and do my job, everything else will take care of itself."
Green said an uncle taught him at a young age the proper way to play the game. His intellectual growth continued through high school and into college, where Michigan State coach Tom Izzo gave him the freedom to think for himself on the floor.
"I love that part of the game," Green said. "You can see things before they happen, and you can adjust. I think that's what is going to allow me to compete at the next level. I may not be the most athletic guy, but I understand the game."
The Warriors think Green, a 39 percent shooter on 3-pointers as a senior, can hold his own against NBA small forwards. The fact he's a strong rebounder for his size also makes him a candidate for playing time at power forward.
"A guy like that helps you win," Warriors general manager Bob Myers said. "He's got a strong skill set, but what Dray does well is he thinks the game. He's a very intelligent player, and sometimes that tends to get overlooked when you're evaluating a player.
"I can guarantee you he's going to be with us on opening night. We love him."
Green said he won't use anger as motivation to prove that he should have been a first-round pick.
"I'm working hard regardless, that's just the way I am," he said. "Just because I slid out of the first round doesn't serve to motivate me. To me, 35 is just a number. It doesn't define who I am or what I intend to be."
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.