Draymond Green’s lack of control over his limbs is once again becoming a debate in the NBA.
In last year’s playoffs, Green got into hot water after first kicking Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams in the groin, then later earning a suspension for swiping at LeBron James’ groin in the Finals.
The situation reared its head again last week when Green was given a flagrant foul for kicking James Harden in the head. The play ended up costing the Warriors a game against the Rockets.
Now, Green appears to once again be at war with the NBA over his actions.
Prior to the season, the NBA held two extensive meetings to discuss how to rule incidental contact between players and how to judge “natural” movements vs. unnatural movements. After being given a flagrant for his kick to Harden, Green went off on the league office for determining how his body should react to plays (via ESPN’s Chris Haynes).
“I just laugh at it because it’s funny how you can tell me how I get hit and how my body is supposed to react. I didn’t know the people in the league office were that smart when it came to your body movement. I’m not sure if they took kinesiology and all this stuff for their positions to kind of tell you how your body is going to react when you get hit at certain positions.
“Or you go up and you got guys that jump to the ceiling, and I’m sure a lot of these people that make these rules can’t touch the rim. Yet they tell you you’re way up there in the air and which way your body (is supposed to react). I don’t really understand that. That’s like me going in there and telling them, ‘Hey, you did something on this paperwork in here wrong.’ Like, I don’t know what your paperwork looks like. It is what it is.”
Green also called out James Harden, whose tendency to draw fouls often results in some unnatural movements.
Kiki VanDeWeghe, executive vice president of basketball operations, came out in defence of the league and its ruling regarding Green’s kicks (via USA Today’s Sam Amick).
“Our rules are for every player. We want each play judged according to the rules, as best possible, and the rules applied fairly across our whole league. That’s very important to us. We don’t make exceptions for players. They are applied to everybody.
“In Draymond’s particular case (against the Houston Rockets on Thursday), he had an arm flail which struck the player (James Harden) in the neck-head area. And then in addition to that, he had a kick up above the head of the defender. As he brought his leg down, his heel hit him in the face. It wouldn’t matter what player we’re talking about (it’s a foul).”
VanDeWeghe continued, “Is an arm flail or a leg kick a natural act? And they were judged by not natural acts, depending on the severity, the angle, things like that. And is it an appropriate (reaction) to a foul or a fall, or things like that? Most of these are done to draw the attention of the referees. We noticed an uptick in these last year, and they needed to be addressed by the competition committee.”
VanDeWeghe added that the biggest difference between Green’s kick and Harden’s foul-baiting is player safety.
According to Amick, there’s already been an uptick in players being penalised for “unnatural acts” on the court this season.
On Sunday, however, Green again kicked another player, this time hitting Phoenix Suns forward Marquese Chriss in the hand while trying to draw a foul. The play went unpunished.
Another game another Draymond Green kick. pic.twitter.com/h2egPbNv1G
— ⓂarcusD2.0 (@_MarcusD2_) December 4, 2016
It will be interesting to see how the league reacts to Green’s latest kick. According to VanDeWeghe’s assessment, Green’s contact with Chriss seemed to jeopardize player safety — Chriss immediately left the game after the kick.
It will also be worth monitoring how these plays pile up for Green. Green’s suspension in the Finals was the result of accumulating technical fouls and flagrant fouls throughout the postseason. According to the NBA, as of December 1, Green had three technical fouls and one flagrant. If they continue to pile up, he could once again be facing a suspension, and furthermore, may be targeted by referees who know Green has habit of kicking upon making contact.
Whether Green actually means to kick his leg is unknown to anyone but Green, but ultimately, he’s going to have to learn to control it to stay out of trouble.
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