Michigan State coach believes new Nuggets guard good fit in Denver

Tom Izzo points to production, not draft order
by Aaron Lopez
Nuggets.com

Tom Izzo has seen 15 of his players drafted by NBA teams during his 20 years as the coach at Michigan State.

He’s wise enough to know that a player’s spot in the draft order isn’t nearly as important as how the player responds to the opportunity to make an impact at the next level.

“That’s for your ego, but the rest of it determines whether you have a cup of coffee in the league or whether you have a long career,” Izzo told reporters after Michigan State guard Gary Harris went to the Denver Nuggets with the 19th overall pick on Thursday night.

Harris was widely projected to be taken among the 14 lottery picks, and the Nuggets were pleasantly surprised to nab his rights via a trade with the Chicago Bulls.

Izzo noted that Zach Randolph was the 19th overall pick in 2001, while Draymond Green went 35th in 2012. Randolph is a two-time All-Star with the Memphis Grizzlies, while Green has developed into a key rotation player for the Golden State Warriors.

“You learn it’s not where you’re picked,” Izzo said. “I know Gary’s personality and sometimes he plays a little better with a chip on his shoulder.”