Draymond Green may or may not care about the answer to this question. He may care but not really care, if that makes any sense. In his time with the Golden State Warriors, he has opened eyes and changed people’s perceptions of his game.
He’s not the biggest, strongest or fastest guy on the court. He’s not the most athletic guy out there. It seemed like a lot of his success was due in large part to the insane shooting accuracy of the Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Those guys stretch defenses to their absolute breaking points and Green has all kinds of room to drive to the basket, dish to open teammates, or even step out and knock down three-point shots himself. He put up lots of triple doubles this season and also showcased his versatility by being able to defend multiple positions, on the perimeter and in the post.
His play during the early rounds of this year’s playoffs while Curry was injured kept the Warriors afloat too.
The play in question that really has all of this controversy stirred up is his dust-up with Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams in game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
Did Green flail and accidentally catch Adams in the groin in one reactionary motion right after the ball was stripped out of his hands?
Or did he take advantage of being stripped of the ball and use it as an opportunity to get in the cheapest shot of all and play it off as if it were all part of the game?
There were immediately two opposing schools of thought. Is it a flagrant 1 or a flagrant 2? Will he be ejected? Will he be suspended for game 4?
The play was reviewed thoroughly and deemed a flagrant 1.
It was later upgraded to a flagrant 2 and Green was fined $25,000.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) May 23, 2016
He’s still on thin ice. If he collects one more flagrant foul, he’ll still wind up having to sit for a game.
This isn’t the first time Green has kicked or extended his legs. Have a look.
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
This isn’t the first time an NBA player has played the kick card either. Hall of Famer Reggie Miller always got accused of kicking his leg out to draw fouls on defenders attempting to close out on his jump shots.
Draymond Green isn’t even the only power forward to have opponents upset at him for kicking them in the groin. The Mailman, Karl Malone, came to my mind as soon as Steven Adams started to crumple to the floor.
— Vinny Hardy (@VinnyHardy) May 23, 2016
Yep, Karl Malone used to get guys riled up when he kicked them in the groin back in the day. If you click on the link in that tweet it will take you to an article referencing how David Robinson got called for a foul after being on the wrong end of one of Malone’s kicks.
NBA history is painfully repeating itself.
The one major difference is technology, social media and the internet. Karl Malone may have been a little craftier in getting his shots in. On the other hand, maybe not. Sometimes he just drove down the lane and jumped in the air with his leg sticking straight out. The difference is there was no TIVO or Vine where you could instantly replay it and post it and dissect it like we can today.
We had every angle of Green’s kick analyzed before Steven Adams felt the full effects of the pain of the blow.
Green has said he’s sorry and that he would’ve already apologized to Adams had they not been in the heat of competition.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) May 23, 2016
We love to put players in a box and put a specific label on them to compartmentalize them for our benefit. When you think of Green, will you think of a young, versatile player on both ends? Or will you envision a dirty, blatant cheap shot artist?
His reputation is at a crossroads. It’s safe to say it probably won’t be there for long.