Indefinitely suspended

Indefinitely suspended

First off, let’s get one thing clear: Draymond Green has always been an extremely physical player. At 6’5” and 230 pounds, he would otherwise not have been able to build a reputation as one of the best defenders in the National Basketball Association (NBA). For all his uncanny anticipation and guile, he knows his success in keeping in check opponents taller and bigger than him hinges on his capacity to tread the fine line between requisite toughness and unnecessary roughness. It’s why, his anemic numbers notwithstanding, he’s a four-time All-Star and former Defensive Player of the Year awardee. And it’s also why he has frequently been penalized to the detriment of those around him, be they friend or foe.

No doubt, Green’s propensity to dance to the beat of his own tune has contributed to the Warriors’ dynastic achievements. On the flipside, there is likewise no discounting the times he has brought them down. Take the kick he directed at LeBron James’ crown jewels, which ultimately caused them the 2016 Finals. Or the sucker punch he gave Jordan Poole, which submarined their 2022-23 campaign. Or his ridiculous headlock of Rudy Gobert last month, which stunted any progress they had to start the current season. And so on and so forth.

Given Green’s predilection for recidivism, it’s no surprise that the NBA front office decided to crack the whip and suspend him “indefinitely” following his latest transgression: a blow to the head of Jusuf Nurkic in the Warriors’ set-to against the Suns the other day. Don’t believe his post-match protestations that he merely tried to sell a foul, and that the ensuing contact was incidental at best. The footages, from just about every conceivable angle, underscored his intent to inflict pain — make that maximum pain.

The immediate effect is, of course, clear: The Warriors, already reeling from inconsistency, will need to dig deeper into their uneven roster to make up for Green’s absence. That he will be sidelined without any timeline on his return further exacerbates their situation. It’s bad enough that fellow starters Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins are in slumps that don’t seem to have any end in sight. And while their effort can never be questioned, they know theirs is an uphill battle.

At this point, nothing should be off the table for the Warriors. If they do not want to waste what is left of Stephen Curry’s prime, they would do well to explore trade options in order to shore up their competitiveness. And, in their bid to find a silver lining, they should not worry about sentimentality. Else, they’ll wind up digging an even bigger hole from which there may be no escape.


Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994. He is a consultant on strategic planning, operations and human resources management, corporate communications, and business development.