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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