Could Jonathan Holmes Be the Draymond Green of the 2015 NBA Draft?


With less than one month left until the NBA draft, one of the most fun topics being whispered about by teams: Who is going to be the Draymond Green from the 2015 draft? An experienced, smart player who can a) shoot the 3, b) defend bigs in the post, c) defend guards on the perimeter, d) pass well, e) play SF and PF and maybe even some center.

Green was a 2nd round steal in the 2012 NBA draft – seniors rarely go in the lottery, and Green was a tweener who most teams thought would be overmatched against power forwards and too slow to defend small forwards – and he’s about to get paid this offseason, either by the Warriors or someone else.

Luck, of course, is partially a factor to Green’s success – besides David Lee being injured, the Warriors changed coaches in the offseason, going from Mark Jackson to Steve Kerr. Kerr started Green from opening night and the former Michigan State star never relinquished the job.

Second round gems have made a habit for blowing up in recent postseasons:

Danny Green (2nd round, 46th in 2009)
Marc Gasol (2nd round, 48th in 2007)
DeAndre Jordan (2nd round, 36th in 2008)
Kyle Korver (2nd round, 51st in 2003)

Green’s game is reminiscent of Boris Diaw, a 1st round pick of the Hawks in 2001 who didn’t fit in Atlanta or Charlotte, but did in Phoenix and San Antonio. I don’t think it’s a huge coincidence that Diaw was crucial to San Antonio’s success en route to the 2014 Title, and now Green is a major factor for the Warriors, as teams look for versatile, playmaking, shot-making power forwards.

So who is a player scouts think could be the next Green or Diaw? Two scouts from Western Conference teams mentioned the same name to me this week: Jonathan Holmes of Texas.

Holmes – who excelled in the classroom in Austin as well as on the court – started three and a half years for the Longhorns and was a capable passer, though that is the one attribute he must improve. What scouts love most about him is his ability to defend on the wing and inside, and there’s a feeling that he’s got the potential to hold his own when he’s matched up with a point guard in the pick-and-roll. Is he a leader? Well, teammates raved about him throughout his career.

His basketball DNA appears to have everything teams are currently coveting: Ability to play the stretch four (attempted more 3-pointers in each year at Texas, shot 33% the last two years), but also skilled on the block, where he’s got nice footwork for a man of his size:

One more thing to remember about Texas: Rick Barnes was the coach. Tremendous recruiter; less so with the Xs and Os. He brought in some very talented players who didn’t end up getting drafted very high, but still had/are having nice runs in the NBA, such as Royal Ivey (2nd round, 2004), PJ Tucker (2nd round, 2006), Daniel Gibson (2nd round, 2006), Damian Jones (24th overall in 2010) and Avery Bradley (19th overall in 2010).

Holmes is a bit taller than Green (6-foot-9 to 6-foot-7) but doesn’t have Green’s wingspan or leaping ability. He’s not a carbon copy, but he certainly possesses some of the same attributes that Green does, making Holmes a very attractive prospect in the early 2nd round of the draft.

Green is only in his 3rd year in the league, and in his first season, he only played 13 minutes a night, shooting just 32 percent from the field and 20 percent from three while adjusting to the NBA. Both of those stats improved each of the next two years, and now we’re talking about a 1st team all-defense player who is probably going to become a $10 million in July.

Could that be Jonathan Holmes in three years?