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Colin Cowherd: 'I'd take Draymond Green's career over Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook'

The Fox Sports' talk show host went to bat for the former Michigan State Spartan

Golden State forward Draymond Green recently made headlines again when he was ejected from Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Semifinals after a hard foul on Memphis’ Brandon Clarke.

Green has been known for his physical and relentless style of play dating all the way back to his days as a Michigan State Spartan, and while it hasn’t won the 11-year NBA veteran many popularity contests, one talk show host went to bat for Green on Tuesday afternoon.

Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd compared Green’s career to a trio of players who may, eventually, find themselves in basketball’s Hall of Fame.

“I would take Draymond Green’s career over Carmelo Anthony or Russell Westbrook or, to be honest with you, I think I’d take it over James Harden,” Cowherd said.

“James Harden isn’t beloved anywhere. James Harden is a guy who could score the basketball and was a comet for about four years. And I know he’s an all-timer and he’ll be a Hall-of-Famer, but I don’t think of James Harden and winning, or Westbrook and winning or Carmelo and winning. I think of guys who didn’t take care of themselves or didn’t take care of their game, and eroded quickly.”

Golden State has been near or at the top of the NBA for much of the last decade, built around a core group that includes Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Green.

“Draymond is a fascinating player,” Cowherd said. “He was a second round pick, a total grinder…he was viewed as a tweener and had kind of an odd game. He’s become a huge catalyst [for the Golden State Warriors].”

Over his 11-year career in the Bay Area, Green has averaged 8.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. Those numbers, individually, don’t stand out. But, collectively, they show the impact that Green is able to make in multiple areas of a game.

“I think you can make an argument that, after Steph, the most valuable player for this franchise over the last 25 years,” Cowherd said. “Rick Barry, Steph Curry and Draymond Green – I think he means that much to the franchise.”

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Cowherd didn’t overlook the fact that Green has gotten himself into some trouble with his aggressive style of play, but the talk show host compared that to another player – who was much more eccentric – that wound up having a Hall of Fame career.

“He can be annoying, and he has a very [Dennis] Rodman-esque feel, but he’s a better offensive player,” Cowherd said of Green. “Sometimes, you’ve got to deal with some nonsense, but how valuable is he? He’s the Rodman of the Bulls. He’s the one guy you don’t want picking you up at halfcourt.”

Rodman wasn’t the best player on the Detroit Pistons teams that won back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990. He wasn’t the best player when Chicago went on its second three-peat with Michael Jordan from 1996 to 1998.

But Rodman did a lot of the dirty work and was a ‘glue guy’ for both of those franchises, who wouldn’t have won titles without him. The same thing can be said about Green with Golden State.

“What interesting about Draymond is, you know, society is always trying to push everybody into a box and to be one thing, but look who’s really important in the playoffs,” Cowherd said.

“I love analytics, but analytics doesn’t tell you about a guy’s toughness, or his heart, or ‘Is he a catalyst in the locker room?’ … Everybody’s trying to fit everybody into that analytics three-point box, but if you really look at the playoffs – Jimmy Butler’s not a great shooter, Draymond Green, Chris Paul and the mid-range jumper – these playoffs are once again being controlled by a lot of players…that were overlooked.”

Draymond won’t ever win a scoring title, or lead the league in rebounds or assists. He won’t ever be the best player on a championship-winning team. But he’s a guy that will be remembered by history for being a significant part of the Warriors’ dynasty in the late 2010s and into the 2020s.

“Draymond is substantial and authentic,” Cowherd said. “Averages nine points a game, and has three titles, and this group could probably win another or two. That matters.”

Cowherd's full comments can be viewed below, along with an exchange he had with Nick Wright about Green and the Warriors.