Larry Bird is regarded as one of the best overall players in NBA history; during his illustrious career with the Boston Celtics, Bird impacted the game in every facet, establishing himself as an all-around superstar.
Now the president of the Indiana Pacers, part of Bird's job is to evaluate talent. During a Q&A this week with ESPN.com's Nick Friedell, Bird was asked if the players today are better overall than the ones that played during his era.
While he didn't answer that question definitively, he did offer very high praise for Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green and his fellow Michigan State NBA alums.
I don't know. There's some guys I really like to watch play. Draymond Green is fun to watch. All of those [Michigan] State guys are because they defend, and they play, they play together -- that's how I like the game to be played. Move the ball, cut, pass; if you do the right things, you'll get it right back. I don't know, I hate to compare eras. It's been so long since I played, but I liked to play the total game. Magic liked to play the total game. Some guys are just scorers. Some guys just defend and rebound. But the guys that are playing now are just as good as what we were when we played.
If you look at some of the player to come out of MSU lately --Green and Denzel Valentine come to mind immediately--they are known for being versatile and multi-faceted. Tom Izzo has a strong reputation as a teacher and tactician, and his program is consistent. It makes total sense Bird would feel this way.
Quotes like this also can't hurt recruiting either.