Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has been suspended five games for his involvement in Tuesday’s fight with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the league announced. Here’s what you need to know:
- The four-time NBA champion will miss the following games while serving the suspension: Oklahoma City Thunder twice, Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs.
- Just 1:43 into the matchup, Warriors guard Klay Thompson and Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels got into a scuffle at midcourt that saw both players grabbing each other’s jersey. Moments later Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert — who appeared to attempt to break up the altercation — was grabbed around the neck by Green before players and coaches stepped in to break it up.
- Thompson, McDaniels and Gobert have each been fined $25,000 for their roles in the incident.
- All three players were ejected from the game, a 104-101 Timberwolves win.
What does the next stretch of games look like without Draymond?
More challenging. They’ll face the Thunder twice this week and then close out a six-game homestand with the surging Rockets. Then it’s a road game in Phoenix before an In-Season Tournament game against the Spurs next Friday night. Those are the five. The first of those — against the Thunder on Thursday night — will also be without Steph Curry, who is nursing a sore knee and will miss at least one more game. — Anthony Slater, Warriors beat writer
Who must step up in Draymond’s absence?
This feels like an ideal time for the Warriors to attempt to unlock Jonathan Kuminga. Without Green in the preseason (ankle sprain), Kuminga led the NBA in scoring. Some of that was unsustainable opportunity, but there was a force and confidence to his game that has been stripped the last couple weeks as his minutes have again shrunk back into the teens. Steve Kerr will likely start Dario Šarić. That has been the trend. But a whole bunch of Kuminga with some free rein could jumpstart his season. Maybe start him next to Šarić and keep Kevon Looney off the bench or jolt Kuminga’s usage from a bench role. Either way, they need more from him.
They could also use Chris Paul, Andrew Wiggins and Thompson finding their jumpers, Curry returning quickly from a minor knee injury and Brandin Podziemski to continue playing as he did last night. Kerr guaranteed a rotation role for the rookie after the game. — Slater
This is the longest suspension of Green’s career and his first time being penalized multiple games. That makes it easily his most expensive penalty.
Green will lose $769,704 during this suspension. Before Wednesday’s ruling, he’d never lost more than $177,976 in one swoop. According to Spotrac, Green has been ejected from 19 games and at the end of this five-game suspension will have been suspended for nine games. His career total for fines is now $2,231,780, including this latest suspension.
While this might be his largest suspension, Green’s most costly was still Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals, which he and many believe was the difference between a second consecutive championship and the infamous blowing of a 3-1 Finals lead. That suspension was based on the accumulation of flagrant foul points for the postseason. Green was also suspended from a playoff game in April after stomping on the chest of Sacramento big man Domantas Sabonis, a suspension that didn’t end up costing the Warriors the series. — Marcus Thompson II, senior columnist
Green has a history of suspensions
Only one of his suspensions was by Golden State, a one-game levy after his verbal altercation with Kevin Durant on the court in November of 2018.
The Sabonis suspension during the playoffs and now this five-game suspension — which is harsh based on the NBA precedent — suggest a growing intolerance and perhaps a particular disdain for Green. Considering these incidents have yet to stop in his storied career, one has to wonder how the NBA will handle the next situation.
The NBA admitted in its statement, as it did in the postseason suspension, that it is factoring in Green’s reputation. They are clearly trying to curb his behavior through punishment. But Green doesn’t seem interested in changing. So will the league continue to ramp up its punishment? Will the NBPA fight back considering these punishments are essentially setting new precedents in the name of sending a strong message to one player? — Thompson
(Photo: Kelley L Cox / USA Today)