Thompson: The NBA missed the mark with Draymond Green’s suspension, and that’s our loss

SAN FRANCISCO — It should be a pretty epic night at the Chase Center. Fans at Fever Pitch are trying to surpass the fervor of Sacramento fans in Games 1 and 2. E-40 is back in the building. A palpable tension fills the arena before tip-off. The defending champion Warriors are playing for their postseason. to their reputation. For their dynasty. In their way the Kings – exceptional, upstart Kings – want to shock the world and announce their arrival as serious contenders.

Power pours through the television. Millions watched, possibly a record audience for a first-round series that produced the league’s best opening game audience in more than 20 years. Inevitably, Draymond Green will go head-to-head against Tomantas Sabonis. The electricity of playoff basketball shot directly into the nerves.

But the NBA doesn’t want that. Not enough anyway. They are no more than willing to enter honor politics.

In an interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews, the NBA’s president of basketball operations, Joe Dumars, revealed. Reason for suspension decision Draymond Green had a triple for Game 3 of Thursday’s Western Conference first-round series. The act itself, then green behavior – “harmful behavior” he called it – and he was again a criminal.

“We think as a whole,” Dumars said on “NBA Today,” “you take those three things and that’s where you’re going to land with a suspension. If you break them apart, maybe not.”

So the suspension isn’t just because he stepped on Sabonis’ chest in Game 2. No doubt, it could have been. If only the NBA stomp or Sabonis was too injured to play Thursday to merit a suspension, that decision would have come earlier. That position doesn’t require the debate that Dumars said took place throughout Tuesday.

But it’s hard to take that hard line when Sabonis is the trigger. This is not a situation created by the Greens Anywhere. He was suitably provoked. Dumars said the NBA was satisfied with the direct penalty given to Sabonis by the refs for a technical foul. If it was about Green’s stomp, they were certainly satisfied with the punishment his reps gave him on the court as well: a flagrant 2 foul and ejection from a game the Warriors ultimately lost.

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But the driving force behind the suspension was the antics that followed. Runs to center court and implores the Sacramento fans to cheer. Then stood on a chair and shouted more, throwing explosives at the birds, causing the crowd to flip. Later, respect entered the context of politics. It’s about ideas of decorum and professionalism.

Eventually, the NBA came to dislike how Green was operating.

He is very loud. Very brave. Very aggressive. Very demonstrative. Very annoying. A lot of pride. Not too apologetic about being too extra. A contrite Green, who took the microphone and expressed his feelings of shame following the incident, was reported to play in Game 3.

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It’s an example of the NBA taking itself too seriously or, perhaps worse, ignoring the fans who do.

People really think it’s a courtroom, don’t they? All the soapboxing, character judgments and pearl clutching. Previous cases and persons who disclose evidence. Even Dumars’ language — “repeat offender” and “harmful conduct” — is legal jargon. Green will surely be judged by the court of public opinion. He is not a humble and polite defendant.

There is no defense for personality offenses, and the Warriors didn’t put one on Wednesday. Bob Myers, the Warriors’ president of basketball operations, offered neither an emotional plea nor a heartfelt explanation. There was no anger at the end of the league. Green has no desperation. There is neither strong support nor strong condemnation in either direction. Myers, expert as he is, weaved around questions and bombastic answers, making sure he didn’t say too much. And his ducking was on behalf of the franchise.

“We’ve been here before,” Myers said. “Once these decisions are made, there is no appeal court. It’s over. You can react however you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that he didn’t play.

To be fair, there isn’t much to say. They know who Green is and how out of control he is. They know this is the price of riding with him. And they get it: a lot of people don’t like him. Sometimes, they are not themselves. Undoubtedly, they agree with the NBA and want to tone down the green in particularly combustible moments. They, too, want him to be guided more by the humility behind the scenes, not by the glories that cloud him on the court.

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“He’s a force. The guy is a force,” Myers said. “But he’ll tell you he made a mistake. Can’t hide from them. They are all out there to watch. He has a good heart. He did. I know. But that doesn’t mean he’s infallible. Not me. nobody is here. … Complicated guy, for sure.”

But they see the full value of greenery. They also enjoy the benefits he has provided. It is part of the package. They accept it. This means they have no choice but to accept the NBA’s ruling and the price of green measures.

Sometimes, they end up in these moments, changing their sequences and holding press conferences to explain. Sometimes, they end up lifting a trophy.

“Again, it’s out of our control,” Steve Kerr said. “Draymond is incredibly competitive and passionate and fierce, and he’s helped us win four championships. I’ve said it many times, we wouldn’t have a championship without Draymond Green. That’s the truth. So he’s crossed the line over the years, and that’s part of it. We’re going to bat for Draymond. Let’s go, let’s go to war with him every day of the week.

“Winning is confusing if you want to be honest,” Myers added.

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The green should be penalized when the rules are broken. And he You’d be hard-pressed to find a player who is more penalized than the green. His steepest cost was the NBA Finals they lost in 2016 after being suspended for Game 5. He was expelled. He sorts technical fouls. He pays the fine. His fame is enshrined. He is who he is. It works for him more than it doesn’t. Feel free to love him or hate him. But this bent for him to be different, to fit into a mold, seems to detract from the league’s ultimate goal.

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What the NBA has lost sight of in this particular situation is that Green is a character in a great production, a willing and exceptional villain. The NBA has had them before. Part of the surprise of Dumars’ suspension was that he played with one of them in Bill Laimbeer. His entire team wore black hats. IndeedAnd legends exist because of it.

These guys become legendary figures because of what they add to the storyline. The point is that they are unpleasant. The point is to have someone to root against. The NBA is built on matchups and drama. They are on TNT who know the drama. It’s a game.

Green is ejected for the stamp. His team lost Game 2 because he was not on the court. And he has two flagrant foul points, two away from another suspension. But still This is Green’s antics were suspended because they didn’t like it. Because they saw him as an act that defied civilization.

But what if they choose to see it differently? They found it funny and leaned into it, as many do. Punish him for his mistake and let him go. If they fine him for his actions after the stamp – on top of the expulsion – who will really suffer?

Of course, some fans will cry rivers, take to social media in dismay, and lament the downfall of humanity. But then they can tune right in to Game 3 and see what happens next. Just like people did with the Pistons and Bulls in the 90s.

Instead, the NBA saw it as “harmful” and potentially sacrificed an incredible streak. It’s their league. Their call. Our loss.

(Photo: Loren Elliott/Getty Images)

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