NBA more worried about stars, TV ratings, doesn’t suspend Green

Golden State's Draymond Green's delivers a shot between the legs of Oklahoma City's Steven Adams during Game 3 of the NBA's Western Conference finals Sunday night. (AP photo)

Golden State’s Draymond Green’s delivers a shot between the legs of Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams during Game 3 of the NBA’s Western Conference finals Sunday night. (AP photo)

Welcome to the NBA’s Department of Selective Discipline.

The NBA has chosen not to suspend Golden State center Draymond Green, even though league executive Kiki VanDeWeghe admitted  that’s Green’s karate kick to Steven Adams’ nether regions was “unnecessary and excessive and warranted the upgrade and fine.”

So Green kicks Adams in the groin and the NBA changes his foul from a “Flagrant 1” to a “Flagrant 2.” I guess that’s like slapping both wrists.

If you’ve lost count, Green now has three Flagrant fouls in the playoffs. If he gets one more, it will trigger an automatic suspension. Unless the NBA changes the rules, which is always possible.

Look, I understand what the league used to be like. I covered many of those Lakers-Celtics finals. I watched the Pistons, Sixers and all those other teams in the Eastern Conference. Hard fouls in the postseason were common place. I know Rick Mahorn. Draymond Green is not Rick Mahorn.

But this decision was a bunch of disingenuous hooey. Green didn’t get suspended because he’s a starting center on the NBA’s current crown jewel of franchises, the Warriors. If Green was forced to sit Game 4 of the Western Conference finals at Oklahoma City Tuesday night, it would have increased the chances of Golden State losing and fall behind in the series 3-1.

We just can’t have that. Not with television ratings and sponsorship dollars hanging in the balance.

As suspension-worthy fouls go, this is as obvious as it gets:

It’s almost as obvious as this (via @ArashMarkazi):

As a reminder, the NBA chose not to suspend Boston starting point guard Isaiah Thomas for slapping Hawks’ Dennis Schroder in the playoffs. That left Hawks players and coaches incredulous. But then, Thomas was a starter for the Boston Celtics:

However, the league did suspend Cleveland’s Dahntay Jones for this shot to the groin region of Toronto’s Bismack Biyombo.

Why did Jones get suspended but not Green? Because he’s a seldom-used reserve. You think the NBA would’ve suspended Tristan Thompson? No.

The Huffington Post has a nice aggregation of seven incidents in the NBA similar to Green’s that resulted in suspensions. That included this shot from Schroder to DeMarcus Cousins when the Sacramento center tried to set a pick:

So the message should be clear to all four teams remaining in the NBA playoffs: While the league won’t openly condone groin shots, it will happily look in the other direction if it’s delivered by a starter.

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18 comments
Ficklefan
Ficklefan

Great article!  You nailed it, and you did so in a very persuasive and credible way.  


This problem (assuming you believe that it is a problem, because the NBA certainly does not see it as a problem) has been around for quite some time now. But with the state of the art instant replay and stop action views of plays from three or four different angles, it is no longer possible to plead that "it was a judgment call" or "the ref on the floor got a better look at it" or that "it all happened so fast" etc. etc. Today, everyone at home and at the arena sees exactly what happened in every play with explicit, crystal clear, slow motion detail. 


This NBA policy of a now very clear and distinct double standard for stars/starters vs. yeoman players (sometimes referred to as the "Jordan Rules" (or perhaps these days the "LeBron Rules") can no longer be swept under the rug by the PR department. But, that does not mean that they are going to do one darned thing about it. Why?


As the old saying goes, Money talks and BS walks, and there is way, way too much money at stake here in each of these finals series to be going around enforcing the rules and imposing the standards that apply to all players on the starts/starters during the NBA Finals. Something that might possibly cut one or two games out of a series. Wonder what the revenue for just one game is? A lot of dough, no doubt. 


So, fans should just accept it and appreciate its entertainment value and enjoy speculating what may happen if per chance a Draymond Green happened to intentionally and purposefully kick a Steven Curry in the groin and how the NBA might decide to divide that baby. 


Or, perhaps enjoy the game announcers' banter has they try, and fail horribly, to wrap their heads around and to explain the NBA's, not just blind tolerance, but its implicit endorsement of using a double standard in applying its rules to stars/starters and to yeomen players during play off games. As noted, they can deny it to the heavens, but wait . . . can you run that slow motion replay again from those other two angles . . . . ?? 

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

The NBA has a two-tiered rule system, and always has. 

One set of rules for the "stars", and another for everyone else.

Justin Daniel
Justin Daniel

This is the nail in the coffin for the NBA to me. It's all about the advertisers to them now.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Make him wear padded shoes the rest of the playoffs.

OH:IO
OH:IO

dogs: 30:1


haha

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Betterdaysmm @ajc @SocraticSage 

The play was over, the ball was gone, he wound up and did his best Rockettes impression. 

IMO, this was the same as a right cross to the chin, and should have been treated as such.

JayStone16
JayStone16

@JeffSchultzAJC I realize it's different body parts, but this is consistent with decision in Thomas v. Schroder. Gutless and putrescent.

kokegm
kokegm

@JeffSchultzAJC Shame on the NBA. Green should have been out for the series. If Adams would have kicked Curry, he would have been out