Draymond Green should not be suspended for his kick to Steven Adams in game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
The replay is really hard to determine intent. It sounds extremely cynical to assume that because of Green’s volatile behavior on the court he’d willingly kick another player in the groin.
That’s a huge assumption to make, because there’s a big difference between losing one’s temper at an opponent and going out of your way to deliberately hurt them in what’s possibly the most uncalled-for manner within that context.
The NBA refs have had a terrible postseason, consistently seeming to make the worst call possible in the most significant moments. Suspending Green for game 4 of the Golden State Warriors’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder would once again be letting the refs exercise undue authority on the outcome of a playoff series.
Without Green in game 4, it’s far more likely that the Thunder win that game and go up 3-1 in that series. A 3-1 lead isn’t insurmountable, but it’s certainly difficult to overcome. Suspending Green goes as far to assuring the Thunder will win this series without actually deducting points from Golden State during a game or changing the rules to make every Thunder basket worth double points.
For those who haven’t seen the play, they may have been swayed by chatter involving “Green kicking Adams in his private area.” That’s framed in a very condemnatory way; there wasn’t a stoppage in play and an altercation between Green and Adams where Green followed a screaming session at him with a wind-up kick to the privates.
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Green irresponsibly flailed his limbs while driving to the hoop and hit Adams in an awfully painful area. The flagrant was correctly assessed, because it’s not about intent in that situation; it was unnecessary contact, deemed as such.
But it’s a huge leap to say it was intentional and deserving of suspension, especially when the footage doesn’t go far enough in proving that.
The refs during the game didn’t find it egregious enough to eject Green, so for the league to review it today and deem in worthy of a suspension seems like a bizarre overreaching of authority to dictate the narrative of this series.
People will claim that the Dahntay Jones suspension for his similar action towards Bismack Biyombo in the closing seconds of game 3 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors is a precedent to go forward with a Green suspension, but even that thought process doesn’t seem too convincing.
First of all, it was equally hard to prove intent on the replay footage of Jones hitting Biyombo in his private area, so it seems like the wrong decision was made to suspend him.
Second of all, to act as if the NBA is a league ruled by egalitarianism is hilariously naive. LeBron James doesn’t get the same treatment from refs as Chris Kaman, so if a fan is annoyed enough by Green not being treated by the league the same way that a third-stringer like Jones is to throw a fit, then it’s amazing that they’ve put up with this league for as long as they have.
Jones has no sway in the outcome of the Eastern Conference Finals. Green is a huge factor in the Western Conference Finals. It seems like a questionable exercise of power by the league to severely shift the outcome of how a series turns out.
The best team should be decided on the court, and since there’s not enough solid evidence to convict Green of an intentional act, then he shouldn’t be suspended.
Innocent until proven guilty, and there’s no indisputable evidence of intent from that video. The Jones footage didn’t either, but it was sure easier for the league to suspend a guy who barely impacts the game.
Justice is perverted when instead of looking at the action in a vacuum, a person’s history or character is used against them in determining a judgement. It shouldn’t matter how Green is perceived by the league. Whether he’s vocal like a Rasheed Wallace or quiet like a Kawhi Leonard is completely irrelevant to the matter.
The replay simply doesn’t show evidence of indisputable intent to kick Adams in that area. It will be a travesty if the league hands down an unwarranted suspension that shifts the competitive balance of this series.
Let the players decide who the superior team is, not league officials.