Once again, the NBA has shown that it’s judgement when it comes to punishing players from teams that are important to the brand and especially the ratings is impaired if not worse, as Draymond Green, doing better when he’s trying to kick players than score points or actually help his team in the current playoff series, avoids getting suspended again.
Recap of the previous episodes: Green, never the gentlest of players, delivered a knee in game 2 of the Western Conference Finals to the groin of Steven Adams. He kicked Adams in the groin again in game 3, resulting in a flagrant foul on the foul, but no suspension from the league, who suspended Dahntay Jones a day earlier for a similar hit on Bismack Biyombo. Turns out that if you’re not a star player on the NBA champions, it’s easy deciding whether it was intentional or not. But when it’s Green, who used some lame excuse about always throwing his legs around when he plays, the league suddenly can’t determine whether it’s intentional.
In any case, that flagrant foul should have brought Green closer to a suspension. Guess what – in game 4, another blowout loss for the Warriors and another terrible game for Green, he did something similar, tripping Enes Kanter in a manner that’s hard to call as anything but on purpose. He got away with it in the game, and also a day later, not getting suspended from the league, which makes us wonder what Green actually has to do in order to get punished by the NBA.
Maybe when he’ll hurt a marquee star like Westbrook or Durant, the NBA will react differently to Green showing the real him, which has never gone away, but has been easy to ignore as his more easy-on-the-eyes basketball skills became a bigger part of his game. Green isn’t just fouling players on purpose: He’s actually trying to hurt them and puts them at risk with his decisions to take advantage of the league’s love for him team and the referees tending to ignore the uglier aspects in what makes the Warriors tick.
The way Green has been playing, the Warriors were actually better off with him suspended. However, now that they’re returning home in game 5, he has a chance to put this stuff behind him, hopefully regaining focus, and finally figuring out how to play well against the Thunder, something he’s found quite difficult all season long.