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OAKLAND — Bob Myers exited the Warriors’ facility late Thursday night, having snagged what most believe is another second-round steal — powerful Oregon forward Jordan Bell, 38th overall — that perfectly fits the minor needs of his title team and, on his drive home, Myers’ phone lit up.
It was Draymond Green.
“He said, ‘What the expletive is your problem?’ to me,” Myers recalled. “You can fill in the blank. Then he said, ‘I have to hear about this expletive on the Internet? You didn’t expletive tell me about it.’ He’s like our Team Mom in a way.”
Myers didn’t want to text and drive. So he pulled over to the side of the road and called his emotional All-Star forward. Myers implored him to calm down. But Green just needed one thing: Bell’s phone number.
“So I gave it to Draymond,” Myers said.
Bell watched the draft from a friend’s house down in Calabasas, near his Southern California hometown of Long Beach. He had circulated the country in the weeks prior, working out for teams with late first-round picks.
He never thought he would fall into the second round. So as the draft dipped deeper, the mood among his gathered friends and family grew dimmer. Bell went into the garage as the second round started. He was frustrated. Then he got a call from his agent, Michael Tellem.
Good news: He was coming off the board at No. 38. Better news: He was going to the Warriors, the defending champs, a team with available minutes at the center spot and a system that meshes well with his preferred style of play, the transition game.
So he went back in the house but didn’t want to ruin the surprise for everyone else. The draft coverage was a few picks behind. Bell stomped around. “I was trying to pretend I was really mad, disappointed, had a mean look on my face,” he said.
Then the coverage returned from commercial and it was announced that the Chicago Bulls had selected him. The place erupted. “I was screaming because I was coming (to the Warriors),” Bell said. “Everyone else was screaming because my name got called.”
The room finally quieted. Bell gathered everyone for an announcement. He didn’t just get drafted. He was going to the defending champs. The room erupted again, this time even louder. Money was tossed in the air. “We need rings, bro!!!” one of his friends yelled.
“There was an era where you might’ve been screaming out of a different emotion than joy hearing you got traded from the Bulls to the Warriors,” Bob Myers joked at Bell’s introductory press conference in Oakland on Friday. “So we’re happy that you’re happy.”
But the night’s celebration had only begun. Bell continued the party with family and friends, answering congratulatory text messages. But later in the night, he got a random FaceTime call from a number he didn’t recognize. So he didn’t answer. Then he texted it back: ‘Who is this?’ No response. So he called it back: ‘Who is this?’
It was Draymond Green.
“He was like, ‘Yo, I FaceTimed you, hang up right now and FaceTime me. Don’t call me,’ ” Bell said.
Green wanted to see his new teammate. He wanted to ensure he was enjoying the night. “But he said after this night, we have to get back to work,” Bell said. “We’re trying to get rings over here.”
Bell doesn’t have any prior relationships with Warriors players. He once faced Kevin Durant in the Drew League. “He gave us like 56 (points),” Bell said. Steve Kerr called him soon after he was drafted. Durant text him on Friday morning. Andre Iguodala was one of his favorite players growing up because “I like two-way players.”
But it’s Green who has had the most impact on Bell and it has little to do with that congratulatory phone call. For three years now, Bell has tried to emulate Green’s game. They’re both versatile defenders. They’re both strong and athletic. But they’re both considered undersized for an NBA big with limited shooting range.
“He heard all that,” Bell said.
Only listed as 6-foot-9 and likely a little shorter, Bell is Oregon’s all-time leading shot-blocker. He averaged more than two per game as a Duck and had eight in a recent tournament game against Kansas. He averaged double-digit rebounds in all three college seasons.
He was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He was the head of Oregon’s 2-2-1 press and his ability to capably stay with guards on the perimeter was a key reason Oregon, with a 89.0 defensive rating when Bell was on the floor, was able to play a switch-heavy style at times and boast one of the country’s stingiest defensive units this past season.
So, yes, he said he emulates his defensive game after Draymond Green, who takes those qualities to the NBA and uncorks them on opponents to the most extreme level. But Bell studies more than just Green’s defense. A few years ago, while watching a Warriors game in which Green hit a few floaters, he heard Mark Jackson, now commenting with ABC, mention the importance of that shot for Green.
“He said it and I was like, yo, that is something that he does really good,” Bell said. “So ever since then, I’ve been working on that left-hand, right-hand floater. Understanding that in the pick-and-roll against a bigger guy, that floater can set up a lob for the big. Then the defense may come over even more if they know that shot, then you can kick it out to the corner for a 3.”
Early Friday morning, Bell took a quick flight up from Los Angeles to Oakland for his introductory press conference. He left town later Friday. None of his Warriors teammates were in the area. He likely won’t meet most of them in person until just before training camp in September.
But he already has a locker in the team’s practice facility. And he already noticed whose locker is planted right next to his: Draymond Green’s.
“That’s good for me,” Bell said.
And it’s likely not on accident.