SAN FRANCISCO — JaMychal Green was in the plunge pool in Jamaica on vacation when his phone started to ring. He decided to pick up because, why not?
On the other end of the call was Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
“He told me that [the Warriors] were interested, that they wanted me here, wanted me to be a part of the program,” Green said Monday at his introductory news conference.
The call took Green by surprise. He was already preparing to join another team. But his conversation with Kerr made Green change his mind.
“After talking to him, I couldn’t tell him no,” Green said. “The organization and what they built over here, I’d love to be a part of it.”
Green then picked up the phone and called Draymond Green, who JaMychal has known since the eighth grade through AAU basketball. Draymond has consistently been somewhat of a salesperson for the Warriors, frequently calling prospective players to sell them on joining Golden State.
His call with JaMychal wasn’t exactly a pitch, but it helped seal the deal.
“He was just excited,” JaMycal said. “We both know what we bring to the table, and we just had a good conversation about everything and he made it easy for me to come here.”
Green sees Draymond’s role with the Warriors as somewhat of an outline for how he wants to fit in with the team.
“Just come in and play hard,” Green said. “Be a dog. Do the dirty work — help Draymond out with the dirty work. Knock down shots and play defense. I feel like if you come here and handle your business, you set yourself up for life.”
On paper, Green’s fit with the Warriors fills the spot left by Otto Porter Jr.’s departure. In Green’s first year with the Denver Nuggets in the 2020-21 season, he spread the floor shooting 39.9 percent from three (has a career 36.6 3-point shooting percentage), rebounded well, and provided them with a defender who could guard both wings and center.
It’s similar to what both Porter and Nemanja Bjelica gave the Warriors last season.
But last year, Green’s long-distance shooting numbers dropped to 26.6 percent. Green attributes this to a nagging wrist injury as said “toward the end of the season I just stopped shooting, period.”
“It’s all about rest and confidence,” Green said. “As long as I get my reps in this summer, I’ll be good to go. I was just fighting through some things last year … it’s going to get up.”
In addition to being a floor-spreader, Green will likely spend time playing small-ball center for Golden State, something Green says he’s comfortable with, having needed to play back-up center for Nikola Jokic at times in Denver.
The Nuggets traded Green and a first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the draft rights for No. 30 pick Peyton Waston and a pair of second-round picks. But as soon as the deal was done, the Thunder made it clear they intended to move Green somewhere that would be a better fit.
Although Green initially intended to play elsewhere, it turned out that fit was in Golden State.
“Coming here, you can’t settle, get satisfied or anything,” Green said. “You constantly working here and getting better. That’s something I need to be around. Be around types of players that won championships that have that leadership. They have everything here. From Andre (Iguodala) being a leader as well. Steph (Curry), Klay (Thompson), Draymond. I look forward to playing with those guys.”