Former NBA referee and convicted felon Tim Donaghy raised eyebrows recently when he claimed the NBA suspended Draymond Green to prolong the NBA finals. With the Warriors leading the series 3-1, a Green-less team would have a lesser chance of closing out the series and thus giving the NBA more ratings and attention for another three days. Donaghy explained that he felt this way because Green’s actions in past series were not deemed worthy of suspension, but this similar action was. You can check out the original article from Sports Illustrated here: http://www.si.com/nba/2016/06/13/tim-donaghy-draymond-green-suspension-prolong-nba-finals-warriors-cavaliers
I think Donaghy is missing the point from the NBA’s accumulated flagrant and technical system in the playoffs. Draymond Green wasn’t suspended because of one sack tap on LeBron in game 4 of the Finals, he was suspended for his repeated actions throughout the playoffs that built up to an eventual suspension. The fact that Donaghy, an admitted conspirator in NBA games, made the comments is the most attention-getting part of the story. However, Donaghy is likely looking for a way to bring down the NBA and find a way to make money from the bad fame he has. His book Personal Foul, in which he claimed the NBA referees targeted certain players and tried to fatten the NBA’s wallet, was spoken out against by Charles Barkley, Gregg Popovich, and others who don’t believe his claims.
It is an interesting idea to speculate about, though. As an NBA fan it’s hard having something that’s not black and white potentially swing the balance of the entire championship of a sport. Last year, Russell Westbrook accumulated one too many regular season technical fouls and was suspended for the last game of the regular season. The game was must-win for the Thunder to make the playoffs, and the NBA conveniently rescinded his technical, allowing him to play. Draymond Green’s much more violent kick to the groin of Steven Adams resulted in a Flagrant 2 but not a suspension, but Golden State was trailing that series. It’s fishy things like that where the NBA gets this reputation of potentially rigging games, which I think is fair to speculate about. I just think that the NBA is rigging it just as much in favor of Golden State if they don’t assess Draymond a Flagrant 1 when they felt they should. And remember, it was indeed a Flagrant 1 that triggered a suspension, not a straight suspension from the league. If they feel his hit to LeBron’s groin was a Flagrant 1 regardless of the series status, then it was the right call. It may have just conveniently helped their ratings in this case. I’m definitely open to the ideas of NBA conspiracies, just not in this case.
Draymond Green will be back on the floor for game 6 in Cleveland, where another Flagrant foul would get him suspended for game 7, if it reaches game 7. Look for the same fire from Green, he claims he’s of no use to his team when he doesn’t play with emotion.
The series continues Thursday night in Cleveland.