One thing the league has proven in these NBA playoffs is that no matter what Draymond Green does to others, the Golden State Warriors star isn’t going to get suspended.
Green, elevating himself to superstar level this season despite playing next to Klay Thompson and especially Stephen Curry, has always had a mean streak. But the more known you become for basketball reasons and not the dirty kind, the more difficult it is to get someone to punish you, especially when playing on the best team in the NBA, and now also the most popular in the land.
Green gave it his best during the conference finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder: Twice kneeing Steven Adams in the groin, tripping Enes Kanter and once again going after Adams with an armbar that resulted in the center landing on Green’s own head. The NBA reviewed everything and despite some calls being reassessed as flagrant, putting Green at some sort of disciplinary risk, the NBA keeps telling everyone that there’s no reason to suspend Green.
Green said some ridiculous story about not controlling his leg and always raising it out of reflex. OK, so he does it. So what? He’s still hitting and hurting players, putting them at risk and injury. And while intent is something only he knows, when these things occur again and again, in the playoffs and way before it, it’s not a mistake, it’s not by chance, and it’s not something he can’t control. Green is walking the fine line between aggressive and dirty. He’s simply become a more famous player in the last two years, playing for the right team, which is helping keep him on the court instead of watching a game in a suit for once.
Will Green keep testing how far he can take this charade in the NBA Finals? Hard to believe he won’t, although after the groin hit on Adams resulted in Green losing focus, he might deploy different tactics. He does a great job of working referees which is one of those skills no one pays attention to. The Warriors are winning because of a lot of other things too, but Green flying under the radar, or simply getting conscious ignorance from the league when it comes to his offenses, is helping them do this well too.
Some people like to say the NBA treats LeBron James and his teams differently, but it really hasn’t shown in this postseason or the previous one. It’s something that keeps coming up in Warriors games. There’s no grand conspiracy in my opinion; it’s simply a matter of human nature. Referees go with the popular team, slightly blinded by the lights. The people making the decisions above them might have an agenda they’re actually following, and in some way, is hurting the integrity of the game, and even putting some players at risk, when someone like Green knows he can do whatever he wants and get away with it.