Balls: Randolph-Green matchup is one to be heard, seen 

click to enlarge Michigan State alumni Draymond Green, left, of the Warriors and Zach Randolph of the Grizzlies — both known  for their incessant chatter on the court — will likely square off against one another in the second round of the NBA playoffs. - MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ, BRANDON DILL/AP FILE PHOTOS
  • Marcio Jose Sanchez, Brandon Dill/ap file photos
  • Michigan State alumni Draymond Green, left, of the Warriors and Zach Randolph of the Grizzlies — both known for their incessant chatter on the court — will likely square off against one another in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Balls can't wait for the Memphis Grizzlies to punch their ticket to play the Warriors in the next round. Because the trash-talkathon between Zach Randolph and Draymond Green may be better than the best-of-seven series itself.

"Yeah, we talk a lot when we play against each other — a lot," Green said after a workout Monday. "But it's all fun. It's all love there."

Randolph and Green have a lot in common. Both are Michigan State guys. Both were raised by their mothers in households that lacked strong male influences. Both are forwards who like to turn up the volume. Randolph was the 19th pick in the 2001 draft, and Green went 35th in the 2012 draft. Z-Bo is eight years older and has a funky nickname, but the rest is a wash practically.

"We come from the same place," Green said. "It's a brotherhood back there. It lasts for a lifetime regardless of whether we're playing against each other or not. It was something that was built over the course of time.

"It's a good opportunity to play against guys from the same place who have been through the same thing. That's a special moment to me — when I face off against some of the guys who came before me and are older now. It's always special."

Can it be possible that Z-Bo is in his smack league?

"Yeah, he is," Green fessed up to Balls. "Z-Bo is quiet about it, though. You don't really notice it, but if you're out there. ... He may not be like that with everybody, but he's always talking with me. It's funny, man."

Ear plugs are optional.

GRIZZLY PROPOSITION: You know the rap against the Warriors by now — they can be beaten inside. In Round 1, Anthony Davis did absolutely nothing to quiet the doubters.

If the Grizzlies advance to the second round, Randolph and Marc Gasol will present a different kind of problem. Not only do the 6-foot-9 Randolph and the 7-foot-1 Gasol boast size advantages over the 6-7 Green and the 7-foot Andrew Bogut, but both are threats to score within 15 feet of the basket.

After all, Green may be the real Defensive Player of the Year, but he can't shut down two guys at the same time.

"Gasol and Randolph, they're tough," Green told Balls. "They're traditional-style 4-5s [power forward-centers]. They work really well together. Both of them can really pass the ball. Both of them can score. They've been together probably five years now. That's really a tough matchup."

The plan is to make the big guys work at both ends.

"The way we feel, they have to deal with us, too," Green said. "We just don't have to deal with them. So just like they're gonna make us guard them, we're gonna make them guard us."

MORE MEMPHIS BLUES: The Grizzlies are a physical wreck right now. After Mike Conley underwent surgery to repair a facial fracture Monday, coach Dave Joerger said he would prepare his team as if its best backcourt defender would miss extended time.

In other words, take Stephen Curry and the over.

ALL HAIL HALEY: If the 49ers' fourth pick is anything close to the one 29 years ago, then their draft will be an unqualified success.

That would be Charles Haley, who arrived to San Francisco as a virtual unknown out of James Madison and retired with five Super Bowl rings, more than player in NFL history.

The 51-year-old Haley will pull off a rare double this year — the former linebacker will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the 49ers Hall of Fame only weeks apart. He'll also will announce the team's second-round pick at draft headquarters in Chicago this week.

(Chill, Jim Kelly. Haley will be off the podium before he can turn you into 101st career sack.)

THE LIST: Charles Haley aside, the 49ers have had their share of hits in the fourth round of the draft. Here are some of the biggest ones since their first Super Bowl season:

2010: NaVorro Bowman, linebacker, Penn State

2007: Ray McDonald, defensive tackle, Florida

1998: Lance Schulters, defensive back, Hofstra

1986: John Taylor, wide receiver, Delaware State

1984: Michael Carter, defensive tackle, SMU

1983: Riki Ellison, linebacker, USC

1981: Carlton Williamson, defensive back, Pittsburgh

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? (A compliment?!?) Send them to and you may get your name in the paper one day.

Pin It

Speaking of...

More by Paul Ladewski

Latest in Balls: Paul Ladewski

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018


Most Popular Stories

© 2018 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation