The slumping Golden State Warriors need Draymond Green this season. Unfortunately, he can’t stay on the court.
Draymond has been ejected after flagrant foul on Nurkić pic.twitter.com/RmrLU5tdw8— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 13, 2023
Draymond claims he was “selling a foul call” when he smacked Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic in the third quarter. Unfortunately, Green selling fouls often leads to opposing players getting hit in the face or groin.
Tuesday night was Green’s third ejection in the 15 games he’s played. He’s only participated 15 games because of a five-game suspension for choking and dragging Rudy Gobert down the court - which also drew an ejection. When Green plays and avoids ejection, the Warriors are 7-5. When he sits or gets kicked out, they’re 5-8. But he’s getting kicked out of 20% of his games, and could very well draw a suspension for hitting Nurkic in the face.
There’s a chorus of fans demanding trades after last night, where the Warriors once again blew a big lead and lost a close game. They’re now 3-8 in games decided by five points or less or in overtime, which means the absence of, say, a former Defensive Player of the Year might have made a big impact.
In games where Green was ejected, the Warriors lost by eight points, three points, and three points. Even beyond missing his presence, the points they’re giving away on technicals and flagrant foul free throws is swinging the games, like the bizarre technical foul Green committed in a one-point loss to the Sacramento Kings.
An extended, isolated look at Draymond Green's tantrum in last night's loss to the Kings in Sacramento, where he eventually collected a technical after arguing with officials before eventually being subbed out by Steve Kerr. pic.twitter.com/z4cbNMmLQq— Sean Cunningham (@SeanCunningham) November 30, 2023
Steve Kerr had to pull Green to get him to cool down, and Sacramento went on a 12-3 run in his absence, 13-3 if you count the technical free throw five seconds before he was subbed out. Tuesday night, the Warriors starters-plus-Brandin Podziemski lineup was clicking before Green’s ejection, not to mention the downside of ceding two free throws and possession to Phoenix.
But there’s nothing the team can really do except perhaps send Green to therapy. He’s always been a physical player, but he wasn’t just hitting people for no reason as he seems to now. Green also didn’t seem to revel in ejections the way he does now, dancing around and waving his arms to antagonize crowds, like a professional wrestler.
There’s simply been too many examples of Green flying off the handle in the last two years. Punching Jordan Poole at a practice, stomping on Domantas Sabonis, choking Gobert - it’s a ridiculous amount of overreactions, cheap shots, and outright dirty plays.
It’s not clear why Green can’t seem to control his aggression anymore. But the Warriors can’t realistically trade him - he has a four-year $100 million contract and his trade value couldn’t be lower. They also simply need him, since they’re struggling with interior defense even with him on the roster.
But they also can’t continue dealing with him getting ejected every five games, or regularly suspended. There has to be a change and it realistically has to come from Green himself. Do they do a Ja Morant-style suspension where Green goes to an anger management facility? He responded to his earlier five-game suspension by melting down in Sacramento in his first game back, so it seems clear that simply sitting him isn’t going to change his behavior.
Maybe the Warriors need to focus on what’s really important to Green. The team can let Green play basketball, but he’s no longer allowed to podcast. Fines don’t matter to Green, nor do suspensions, so perhaps they need to hit him where it hurts: The microphone.