Former Spartans look to shine in NBA playoffs
The 2018 NBA playoffs are underway, and a couple of former Spartans will look to help lead their team to the championship in June.
There are two current NBA players from MSU who are in the NBA playoffs: forward Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors and guard Bryn Forbes of the San Antonio Spurs. Both of these teams are playing each other in the first round, and in game one the Warriors defeated the Spurs, 113-92.
In game two the Warriors took a 2-0 lead in the series and defeated the Spurs, 116-101.
Green, who was one of head coach Tom Izzo’s most successful players at MSU, is a dominant defensive stopper known for his high energy and intensity.
The 2017 Defensive Player of the Year and two-time NBA champion is having another impressive season with averages of 11 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.3 assists to go along with a steal and a block per game.
Green, who is from Saginaw, Michigan, played all four years as a Spartan, where he received the Big Ten Player of the Year and Big Ten Tournament MVP in 2012. Green was the captain of the Spartans in his senior year and average 16 points and 10 rebounds per game. He led the team to a No. 1 seed in the tournament before an upset loss to Louisville in the Sweet 16.
Prior to the 2018 season, the Warriors were a top-five defensive unit for four straight seasons and Green played a major factor in this, as the team has dropped to No. 9 this season. The Warriors’ defensive rating is 103.7. However, Green played well defensively Saturday afternoon and set an aggressive tone early on both sides of the court that kept the Spurs to only 92 points on 40 percent shooting.
Forbes is known for being a knockdown 3-point specialist and finished with 14 points on 24 minutes off the bench. In his second year in the NBA, Forbes has shown flashes many NBA scouts did not see coming with averages of seven points per game. He averages 39 percent from 3-point range. Forbes has also hit 72 more 3-pointers this season than he hit during his rookie year.
The Lansing native played two years at MSU, where he earned second-team All-Big Ten honors and helped lead the team to a Final Four during his junior year.
Former MSU guard Gary Harris of the Denver Nuggets had a breakout season with an average of 18 points per game, while shooting 48 percent from the floor and approximately 40 percent from 3-point range. The Nuggets failed to make the playoffs after their loss to the Timberwolves in the final regular season game, which was the tiebreaker.