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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: The Draymond Green Conundrum

draymond article

By: Jack Marcheschi

Coming out of Michigan State in 2012, Draymond Green was seen as a bit of “tweener” – too small to play power forward and too big to play small forward. Projected to be a role player, or an energizer off of the bench, teams saw Draymond as a value pick.  No one would’ve guessed that in just four short years, he would become one of the premiere forwards in basketball, cementing himself as a top twenty player in the league and being a vital part of the a team that has a chance to be back-to-back NBA championships. Truly NO ONE saw him as an essential part of a team that could take the crown from Jordan’s ’96 Bulls team as the best ever.  He is a tenacious competitor, and he’s not afraid to show it.

Draymond leaves it all on the floor. Every time he steps on the hardwood he’s diving for balls, swatting shots into the stands, sinking the occasional three and wearing his emotions on his sleeve. If you asked every player in the NBA if they would want Draymond Green on their team, I would venture to guess that nearly 100% of players would say “yes.” It’s like Kevin Garnett used to be. He’s a gamer, through and through. He will do whatever it takes to win, and sometimes, that means bending the rules until they almost break.

Multiple times throughout these playoffs, Green has been the center of controversy. His hustle and heart often lead to plays where he seems like he may be lacking a certain amount of respect for his competition. Against the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals, Draymond played a fantastic series. Along with his stellar play, came some not-so-stellar actions. He kicked Thunder center Steven Adams in the groin, not once, but two separate times in that seven game series. Draymond saying that flailing legs about 75 degrees upward after a shot taken no less than 10 feet from the basket is a “normal” shooting motion is almost believable. Almost. The league though, bought his act, and he wasn’t suspended. Just rewarded a flagrant 1 foul for both incidents. This left some NBA analysts and players scratching their heads, but ultimately the hubbub went away, and the series continued. And boy, Draymond did not disappoint.

Draymond Green pulled maybe the dirtiest basketball play I have ever seen against, you guessed it, the opposing center. The only known living Big Foot, Steven Adams.  Draymond, who was getting constantly out-muscled and out-performed by Adams, decided to take his career into his own hands. Around the 3 minute mark of the second quarter, in game seven of the WCFs, Green pulled Adams down by his shoulder, purposely trying to rip it out its socket and take Adams out of the game.

Watch the video, watch the slo-mo replays. Try to tell me that man isn’t DELIBERATELY trying to take another man out of the game. That’s when I lost all respect for Draymond. Instead of accepting that he was getting dominated by another player and trying to adjust his game, he decided that the best option for his team to win is to take the best rebounder/inside presence of the series.

Luckily, Steven Adams has never felt pain in his life and his brachial plexus/rotator cuffs are welded onto his body because he is made of steel. Although, no injuries were sustained, the malicious intent was clear. After the game, though, still no suspension was handed out to Green for what seemingly should’ve been his third flagrant 2 foul in 5 games. With their victory in game 7, the Warriors moved on to the Finals, where Draymond would yet again show us his true colors.

Late in game five of the Finals, LeBron James and Draymond got tangled up at around the three point line of Golden State. This led to them both falling and LeBron stepping over Green to get back in the play. Draymond, in all of his hardguy glory, saw this as disrespectful and got in LeBron’s face. Clearly calling him a “P**** A** B****”.

Now, let’s take a look at the rule book, shall we? Rule 12, sub-section V, under Conduct: 

Section V–Conduct

a. An official may assess a technical foul, without prior warning, at any time. A technical foul(s) may be assessed to any player on the court or anyone seated on the bench for conduct which, in the opinion of an official, is detrimental to the game. A technical foul cannot be assessed for physical contact when the ball is alive.
EXCEPTION: Fighting fouls and/or taunting with physical contact.
b. A maximum of two technicals for unsportsmanlike acts may be assessed any player, coach or trainer. Any of these offenders may be ejected for committing only one unsportsmanlike act, and they must be ejected for committing two unsports-manlike acts.
c. A technical foul called for (1) delay of game, (2) coaches box violations, (3) defensive 3-seconds, or (4) having a team total of less or more than five players when the ball is alive, or (5) an offensive player hanging on his basket ring or backboard, is not considered an act of unsportsmanlike conduct.
d. A technical foul shall be assessed for unsportsmanlike tactics such as:
(1) Disrespectfully addressing an official
(2) Physically contacting an official
(3) Overt actions indicating resentment to a call
(4) Use of profanity
(5) A coach entering onto the court without permission of an official
(6) A deliberately-thrown elbow or any attempted physical act with no con-tact involved
(7) Taunting
e. Cursing or blaspheming an official shall not be considered the only cause for imposing technical fouls. Running tirades, continuous criticism or griping may be sufficient cause to assess a technical. Excessive misconduct shall result in ejection from the game.

Draymond violates at least three of the following rules here, calling for a flagrant foul, and his suspension because of the other fouls he committed during these playoffs.

Draymond is a great player. He’s worth every penny of his contract. He brings an intensity to the game that is reminiscent of a young Kobe Bryant, and it’s refreshing sometimes.  Along with that fire, desire and strength comes responsibility. The responsibility as a man to know when you are wrong.

Certainly, this suspension was caused by LeBron’s “crying.” Surely this suspension could not have been caused by Dray’s lack of respect for his opponents, the game and the league he plays in.  Bona-fide “superstars,” as Mr. Green calls himself, don’t do that. They don’t see a player stepping over them to get back in the play as disrespectful. How self-absorbed do you have to be to do so?

Jordan never did, Bird never did, Kobe never did, Russell never Did, Chamberlain never did, LeBron never did, and certainly, Curry and Thompson never would.

I honestly don’t understand how some fans can’t see how Draymond acts sometimes, and not just admit that he often plays dirty. Yes, every player commits fouls that don’t get called, but not every player thinks the whole planet revolves around him. Especially when he’s the third best player on his team.

Dray sees the world through his rose-colored Ray Bans. He thinks he looks cool and everything is perfect, but in reality, he makes himself look like a child. On top of that, he makes people who love the game of basketball resent him…myself included.

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