Must we witness more tackles, squeezed windpipes, gouged eyes, crushed testicles, stomped rib cages and assaulted teammates so the NBA’s chief disciplinarian, Joe Dumars, cracks down on Draymond Green?
A five-game suspension for suspension no.5 was mandated for him after he rear-naked choked Rudy Gobert fewer than two minutes into Golden State’s bout with Minnesota. The league also said that his previous incidents influenced the decision.
Yet he’s still very lucky. Most “castigating” measures in his career have been a slap on the wrist and they’ll continue as long as he’s enabled by coach Steve Kerr.
It shouldn’t go unnoticed, either, that when dealing with a bigger man, Draymond prefers to take him from behind.
Five games off is disrespectful to Gobert and the Timberwolves. Had anyone tried to suffocate another at league headquarters in Olympic Tower, they would have been cuffed, thrown in the wagon, and barred from any NBA territory.
Nobody should be convinced this will teach Green. Missing a handful of games isn’t enough to hurt his pocketbook or enough to make everyone around him wise up about how much his tomfoolery hurts them. It didn’t matter that he wasted away a championship and ran two of their own out of town. I wouldn’t hold my breath, but after getting extended for four years at $100 million, he’ll likely get worse until the commissioner says, “No mas.”
After watching Tuesday evening’s embarrassment, commish Adam Silver should have got creative and said, “I got this,” exercising Article 35 from the NBA’s Constitution.
“The Commissioner shall have the power to suspend for a definite or indefinite period, or to impose a fine not exceeding $50,000, or inflict both such suspension and fine upon any player who shall have been guilty of conduct that does not conform to standards of morality, or fair play, that does not comply at all times with all federal, state, and local laws, or that is prejudicial or detrimental to the Association.”
Starting at 15 games would have been appropriate. Of course, he wouldn’t because it would likely set up a showdown with the Players’ Union and undercut Dumars, who already failed to do his job by not suspending Green for a dangerous push in the back on Donovan Mitchell in Saturday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. On the break, Mitchell hit the brakes and didn’t tumble into the TV cameras.
Perhaps he was reprimanded privately, but publicly, Green was defended by his coach, claiming Gobert, who was trying to separate Klay Thompson and Jaden McDaniels from an entanglement, was getting in on the action. Kerr should have said “no comment” to any questions about the scuffle, or taken the fine for not showing up. His reckless wording is enough for Green’s cult followers to look the other way or say, “Wouldn’t you want a teammate who will have your back?”
Indeed, most would. But Thompson was in as much danger as someone pounced on by a golden retriever. It was obvious to everyone but Green, who targeted a man he’s publicly made fun of and toed the line with on the court. Remember when he mocked Gobert for crying because he didn’t make the 2019 All-Star team? Green is the type of hater to ridicule things people care about and hypocritical enough to say head injuries are too severe to be joked about, then aim for Gobert’s.
He’ll be back in time for a rendezvous with Golden State’s first-round opponent, the Sacramento Kings, on Nov. 28. The games he’s missing are against the Oklahoma City Thunder (twice, 7-4), Houston Rockets (6-3), Phoenix Suns (5-6) and San Antonio Spurs (3-8).
Aside from thwarting the Warriors, the suspension hurts Green’s efforts to catch Rasheed Wallace’s technical foul record (41) set in 2001. Hopefully, he can learn restraint, and if he does, the games he shows it might mean more in his career than any other achievement.