SAN FRANCISCO– Green Ja Mychal was at a pool in Jamaica on vacation when his phone started ringing. He decided to pick up because, why not?
On the other end of the call there was Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
“He told me that [the Warriors] were interested, that they wanted me here, wanted me on the program,” Green said Monday during his introductory press conference.
The call took Green by surprise. He was already preparing to join another team. But his conversation with Kerr changed his mind.
“After talking to him, I couldn’t say no to him,” Green said. “The organization and what they’ve built here, I would love to be a part of.”
He then picked up the phone and called Draymond Green, who JaMychal has known since eighth grade through AAU basketball. Draymond has long been something of a salesman for Golden State, frequently calling potential players to sell them on joining the team.
His call with JaMychal wasn’t exactly a pitch, but it helped close the deal.
“He was just excited,” JaMychal Green said. “We both know what we bring to the table, and we just had a great conversation about everything and he made it easy for me to come here.”
JaMychal Green sees Draymond’s role with the Warriors as a preview of how he wants to fit into the team.
“Just come in and play hard,” he said. “Be a dog. Do the dirty work – help Draymond do the dirty work. Knock down shots and play defense. I feel like if you come here and run your business, you’re setting yourself up for life.”
On paper, Green’s compatibility with the Warriors fills the spot left by Otto Porter Jr..’s departure. In 2020-21, Green’s first season with the Denver nuggetshe spread shooting on the ground 39.9 percent from 3 (has a career 3-point shooting percentage of 36.6), rebounded well, and provided them with a defender who could guard both wings and the center.
It’s similar to what Porter and Nemanja Bjelica gave the Warriors last season.
But last year, Green’s long-range shot count dropped to 26.6%. He attributed this to a lingering wrist injury and said: “Towards the end of the season I just stopped shooting, period.”
“It’s about rest and trust,” Green said. “As long as I get my reps this summer, I’ll be good to go. I was just fighting through some things last year…it’s going to stand up.”
In addition to being a ground spreader, Green will likely spend time playing small-ball center for Golden State, which he says he’s comfortable with after needing to play back-up center for Nikola Jokic sometimes in Denver.
The Nuggets traded Green and a first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for draft rights of pick No. 30 peyton watson 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 originally intended to play elsewhere, it turned out to be at Golden State, where he signed after a buyout.
“Coming here, you can’t settle or be satisfied or anything,” Green said. “You are constantly working here and improving. That’s something I need. To be with the types of players who have won championships who have that leadership. They have everything here. D’André [Iguodala] also be a leader. Stephen [Curry]Clay [Thompson], Draymond. I can’t wait to play with these guys.”