Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin knows what Draymond Green is capable of all too well, having been the general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers for three of their four NBA Finals encounters against the Warriors.
Griffin was hired by New Orleans at the conclusion of the 2018-19 regular-season, and as his biggest move thus far, he selected Duke's Zion Williamson with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Williamson was widely expected to be the top selection, having been a constant presence on internet highlight reels for several years now. Chances are, you've probably seen a clip of him doing some kind of windmill, 360-dunk, or jumping out from the paint to the perimeter to block a 3-pointer.
He's an athletic freak, plain and simple -- at 6-foot-7, 285 lbs.
Green won't be doing those same athletic feats on a nightly basis, but nonetheless, Griffin believes there are plenty of similarities between Williamson and Golden State's power forward, and not just physical ones.
"The thing about Zion, though, that excites us is, it's not that he's going to carry you offensively, it's that he's going to be able to facilitate offense," Griffin told Jeff Duncan of The Athletic. "If you look at him as an extremely athletic Draymond Green type who may be able to facilitate all things for others and get out in transition and make plays ... that's exciting. And because that's what he natively really does, we're not going to ask him to carry an undue burden (offensively). We're going to ask him to be Zion, to figure out how that player interfaces with the rest of the pieces we have and how it can be equative to winning."
Green has the fourth-highest individual winning percentage in NBA history behind Kawhi Leonard, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, so if the Pelicans want to turn Williamson into a winning player, they couldn't do much better in terms of someone to model him after.
The fact that New Orleans believes Williamson can become a Draymond-like facilitator on top of all of his Adonis-like physical traits undoubtedly played a role in their decision to make him the No. 1 overall pick. Of course, the fact that the Pelicans are envisioning him playing like Draymond makes Green slipping all the way to the No. 35 overall pick in his draft that much tougher to explain.