The parallels between Warriors forward Draymond Green and 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman are obvious: They’re both draft-day steals who lock down their men defensively, boast elite IQs for their sport and seldom let a day pass without a buzzworthy sound bite.
For a five-year stretch, Green was the emotional leader of an NBA dynasty. Sherman, in just his second season with the 49ers, has been a driving force behind San Francisco’s first Super Bowl appearance in seven years. In addition to being Pro Football Focus’ best cornerback this season, Sherman has used a brash leadership style to galvanize a team that had become accustomed to losing.
The 49ers’ defense, which ranked second in the NFL this season, is now a reflection of the aggressive, verbose Sherman. Though Green fancies himself a Steelers fan, he has come to appreciate what Sherman has provided San Francisco.
“He’s brought a championship mentality to that team,” Green said of Sherman. “He’s brought an extremely high IQ to that team and, in terms of competitive nature, he’s extremely high in that category as well.
“Your team is usually going to take on either that mind-set or the complete opposite. That team has taken on that mind-set. That’s why they are in the position that they’re in.”
Shortly after Sherman signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the 49ers in March 2018, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr called him “the Draymond Green of the NFL.” Asked Friday whether he sees any similarities between himself and Sherman, Green said, “As far as a competitor, as far as his IQ for his position and my IQ for mine, not being afraid to speak up, definitely. Most importantly, he’s a winner.”
Though he’s happy for the Bay Area that the 49ers have reached the Super Bowl, Green won’t be rooting for them against the Chiefs. One of his closest friends is Kansas City defensive end Frank Clark.
As for his beloved Steelers?
“We’ll win again once we make a couple moves here and there,” said Green, who started to support Pittsburgh as a kid because he appreciated the rugged running style of fellow Michigan native Jerome Bettis. “We’ll be good.”
Connor Letourneau is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @Con_Chron