Assessing the Draymond Green ejection
Mannix, Beck discuss the playoff officiating. They also discuss how other players are adapting to a more physical style in the playoffs.
Chris Mannix: Draymond Green, ejected early in Game 1 against Memphis. Do we believe that the ejection was justified? Kane Fitzgerald was quick to pull the trigger for Draymond’s ejection. Draymond suggested that Draymond podcast it. And by the way, Draymond recorded that podcast in the locker room. Talk about modern media.
Howard Beck: That thing was out before the team bus left the arena.
CM He may have gone back to his hotel alone and just recorded his podcast.
HB This was a great job.
CM Do they agree with you? Do you think it was because of his reputation?
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HB: I don’t agree with the ejection. Although I agree that Draymond is suffering from bad reputation in these cases, it’s something that he has earned. I don’t feel much sympathy for Draymond, or anyone else who has been in this situation over the course the history of the NBA. If you have a reputation for doing a lot more than you should, you will be judged accordingly. Was it fair given the circumstances of yesterday’s incident? He should not have been expelled, but I disagree. Perhaps he got less benefit of doubt because he is Draymond Green and has a past? Yes, it happens. It happens, and the NBA doesn’t deny it. I’m not saying that with Draymond. The NBA will tell that they consider past actions.
But I don’t think Draymond Green’s actions on that play warranted a Flagrant 2 or an ejection. To be honest, I thought that was a ridiculous reaction. As we record this Monday afternoon, I am stunned to hear that the NBA has not yet downgraded it to a Flagrant 1. They should have. It’s putting Draymond and the Warriors in a difficult spot, as there are several rounds to go if they want to reach the Finals. And if he gets another Flagrant 2 it’s an automatic one-game suspension and we’re back to 2016.
CM That felt more like a reputation, I agree. Klay Thompson doing that to me is not something I would consider Flagrant 2. It’s not something I like. It’s like when you’re in the playoffs, and it doesn’t matter if the NBA referees want to admit it or otherwise, playoff games are officiated differently. It’s true that you allow more physicality in the playoffs. It’s something you hear players talk about, like what you can get away. Grant Williams was talking about how he can do more in the postseason. I was listening to him. While I don’t advocate letting things get out of control in a situation like this, if you want to lean one direction, lean towards letting them play. Let the NBA deal with it once the fact. Let them make it a Flagrant 2 and give him a fine and a suspension. Don’t do this in the middle of a game. Although the Warriors won the game, it kept the conversation moving. However, if they had lost the series and didn’t, the NBA wouldn’t want to see that.
HB How do you know that this was not an egregious Flagrant2 type of foul? Because the Grizzlies didn’t react in that manner. The Grizzlies did not push and shove and shout and say Look at what you did to our guy . There was no typical in-the-moment reaction that suggests that something was wrong, something was egregious, or that we need to be paid for. Draymond tried to catch him, but he accidentally grabbed his jersey. It looked completely accidental, I thought.
The whole thing about “follow through” and “he hit him on the face”, yes, sometimes you accidentally strike a man in the head while you’re trying to get the ball. It happens every single game. A review is usually a Flagrant 1 because it’s not egregious or incidental. The Flagrant 1 is because the NBA does everything as an Flagrant 1 if there was any contact to the head. That’s fine. They basically called two Flagrant 1s, and added it up into a Flagrant 2. One for the initial contact with the head, which most people didn’t notice in real-time. The jersey/takedown was two. He was trying to soften the blow, and not to make him fall hard. It was a bizarre takedown. The NBA is in a very strange place regarding flagrants.
Joe Dumars has been named today as the executive vice president and chief of basketball operations. This is the same role that Kiki VanDeWeghe held in the past. Rod Thorn, Stu Jackson, Rod Thorn all served this role. It is the dean of discipline as well as the overlord of all rules, technicals, upgrades and downgrades. Joe Dumars, a Bad Boys Pistons alum, might visit Olympic Tower to give people a talk about where it has all gone. Maybe they need to reassess their position and take a step back.
CM: Joe Dumars has to be looking at some of these flagrant fouls and going, What? Do you remember what Bill Laimbeer did during my day to players? Do you remember what Chuck Daly said to us during our day?
HB: And by the way, neither of us are suggesting we should go back to the Bad Boys days of the ’90s. Nobody wants to go back to all of that stuff and have the game slowed to a crawl and guys beating the crap out of each other and getting clocked in the lane and clotheslined. That’s not what they are saying. They have overcorrected. If that’s a Flagrant 2, we are already too far in the opposite direction.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.