Draymond Green has left a giant footprint on this Western Conference Finals series. Somehow, even given the graphic nature of his actions, Draymond managed to avoid suspension.
No suspension for Draymond Green, I can confirm. @WojVerticalNBA first reported. Told it's a Flagrant 2 & a fine.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) May 23, 2016
From NBA: GSW's D. Green Fined $25k and upgraded to Flagrant 2 for incident on 5/22 (5:57 of 2nd qtr).— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) May 23, 2016
The NBA spent the entirety of Monday reviewing the play, eventually determining that Draymond's foul would solely upgraded to a Flagrant 2, and that he would not be suspended. As described by ESPN's Marc Stein earlier today, the review is standard practice for any flagrant foul to determine if the flagrant should be rescinded, upgraded or remain as called.
By now you've likely heard what the source of all this controversy was: with 5:57 left in the second quarter of Game 2, Green drove to the basket made a hard stop, was fouled in the act of shooting and flailed his leg upward right between Adams' legs. Green was assessed a Flagrant 1 and the game went on. If you haven't yet seen the play in question, here it is with a description from Joe Borgia:
Almost immediately, there was a discussion as to whether Green intentionally kicked Adams in his groin, which led to all kinds of bizarre interpretations of physics. Ultimately, I think this compilation from InTheLab of Green rather routinely kicking his leg up at the end of plays settles that matter.
I actually have 140 clips of him doing this..sometimes he kicks when no one is there..random forward..backward kicks pic.twitter.com/gNRuQQWaXS— InTheLab (@TEN000HOURS) May 23, 2016
For whatever reason, Green flails his legs around a lot in all kinds of odd directions when he takes contact, likely in an attempt to "sell" the call or dramatize the play.
However, at issue here is not whether Green intended to kick Adams in his junk but whether it was a reckless play that jeopardized the safety of others, as described by Stu Jackson.
If you're looking for "precedent" to justify your thinking about this, Dwyane Wade's suspension in 2012 for kicking Ramon Sessions is a pretty good example of how the NBA judges this kind of thing.
Even then, the NBA has no reason to follow precedent anyway — they can (and do) interpret the rules however they want when presented with each new situation.
Funny aspect of these situations is the treatment of the NBA as precedent-hewing Supreme Court. "In the case of Wade vs. Balls.."— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) May 23, 2016
The NBA is an entertainment-based dictatorship. They can make their own rulings, regardless of precedent. The question is whether they will— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) May 23, 2016
Again, NBA fines and suspensions aren't Supreme Court decisions. They sorta can do what they want, within some general guidelines.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) May 23, 2016
In this case, Green got the "benefit of doubt" from the league (this series is going seven, guaranteed). We'll see how he responds in Game 4. After the initial incident, he seemed to be completely taken out of the game, ending with an atrocious plus/minus of -43. Either way, an engaged (and possibly humbled) Draymond Green could provide the necessary spark tomorrow as the Warriors look to even the series 2-2 in Oklahoma.