JaMychal Green is a testament to perseverance and keeping a dream alive
Unlike in the game of baseball, professional basketball players don’t often need time to master skills after high school or college. There certainly are exceptions, but for the most part, great high school and college basketball players can jump into the NBA and have an impact. Especially the elite players.
The elite players in college baseball go to the minors, often for several seasons, to hone their craft. Not in basketball. Elite college basketball players usually become elite NBA players. And they do it relatively soon.
And there is usually no secret as to who the great college basketball players are in America. There is tremendous exposure these days for players. If you are talented, an NBA scout is going to take a look. And word spreads fast.
A great example is a freshman point guard this season from Cal Baptist University, Taran Armstrong. He played just a couple games when the news spread that he was an extremely talented player. It has now been reported that a scout from every single NBA team had seen him play by Cal Baptist’s 12th game!
But there are exceptions to the rule. Sometimes, professional basketball players develop late or drastically improve their game after college. And sometimes, they simply slip through the cracks. The list of undrafted NBA players is littered with talent. Guys like Bruce Bowen, Ben Wallace, Udonis Haslem, John Starks and Avery Johnson make this list.
And maybe we add a current Denver Nugget to that list. JaMychal Green went undetected for a long time.
Green went undrafted after finishing his career at Alabama in 2012. He was signed to the San Antonio Spurs summer league team that year, but was waived a few weeks later and ended up playing for the Austin Toros of the D-League. The next season, he was signed to the Los Angeles Clippers summer league team, but was also waived a short time later.
Green then took his game overseas, to France, and played there for a season. But the NBA dream would not go away.
The next season, he was signed again to the Spurs summer league team, but again was waived before the regular season and ended up, again, in the D-League. But Green knew the D-League was only one phone call from the NBA. And that call came in January of 2015, when the Memphis Grizzlies came calling with a 10-day contract. And then another 10 day.
He got playing time with the Grizzlies and took advantage of it. On Mar. 9 of that season, Green had a 21-point, 10-rebound effort against New Orleans. The Grizzlies were convinced and signed him for the rest of the season – and the next year. He played three seasons in Memphis and just seemed to get better and better.
After one season as a free agent signee with the Clippers, Green signed a two-year, free-agent contract with the Nuggets. And has been a solid and reliable contributor, mostly off the bench, for this team.
It doesn’t happen very often, but once in a while, a player slips through the NBA cracks on Draft Day. Then, he holds on to his dream and proves to the basketball world that it was wrong.
The Denver Nuggets have one of those players.
It’s hard not to pull for a guy like JaMychal Green!