NBA Officials Once Again Make the Wrong Decision
By Ian Smith
I spoke too soon when I recently congratulated the league for making the right decision regarding player suspensions.
Apparently Draymond Green was assessed a flagrant foul after league review of his altercation with LeBron James.
In the footage, James appears to step over Green as Green is laying on the court, and Green tries to stand up as James walks over him. They exchange words after Green gets up.
I’m not seeing how this is a flagrant foul. I was in the minority of people who argued that Green shouldn’t be suspended for hitting Steven Adams in the groin in the Western Conference Finals. I still stand by the decision, as intent was impossible to prove through replay.
The San Antonio Spurs have also fallen victim to bad officiating these playoffs, and while it looked as though the Finals would escape undue influence from officials messing up the competitive balance of the series, that hope was too optimistic.
If the league is based on precedent, I’m not sure of the logic on this one. So, Green doesn’t get suspended for a kick to the groin, but he does get suspended for trying to stand up while another player walks over him?
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I realize that he isn’t being suspended for this hit in particular, but for the accumulation of numerous flagrant fouls being issued to him. This was simply the flagrant that initiated the suspension after a certain number.
Yet the league knew what a flagrant foul would mean for Green’s presence in game 5. They made the call to issue the flagrant in retrospect, and the idea that the contact is even worthy of a flagrant is dubious at best.
I never argued that Green hitting Adams didn’t deserve a flagrant, because contact is contact no matter the intention. In this scenario, I’m just not seeing how the James altercation demonstrates excessive contact.
Situations like this make me cynical of the NBA, because it’s hard not to acknowledge the context of this altercation. It involves James, who is still the most powerful player in the league in terms of influence. Would action have been taken if it was Tristan Thompson instead of James?
It doesn’t help the league’s case for would-be egalitarianism. Green is a bigger star than Adams, and James is a bigger star than Green. There’s an evident hierarchy at play here that can’t be ignored.
The other thing that stands out here is the state of the series. The Warriors are up 3-1, and game 5 is being played in Oakland. If a top 10 player like Green is on the court, the Warriors are far more likely to close out the series.
The longer the series is prolonged, the more money the league is able to make from each game being played. What a convenient way to make it more likely for a game 6 to be played to the league’s benefit.
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Maybe that’s being far too skeptical, but I’m just trying to make sense of a flagrant foul call that definitely didn’t seem justified.