Warriors Suffer Big Blow as NBA Comes Down Hard on Draymond Green

Draymond Green, Steve Kerr, Warriors

Getty Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors talks to head coach Steve Kerr after receiving a technical foul.

The NBA suspended Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green indefinitely for hitting Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic in the face, the league announced on Wednesday night, December 13.

“This outcome takes into account Green’s repeated history of unsportsmanlike acts,” the league statement said.

On top of his indefinite suspension, which begins immediately, Green will also be required to meet certain league and term conditions before he can return to play.

One of those conditions is for Green to undergo counseling.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Green will meet his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, and Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. on Thursday, December 14, to discuss a path of counseling that will help the mercurial player to move forward.

The punching incident occurred with 8:23 left in the third quarter of the Warriors’ 119-116 loss to the Suns on Tuesday, December 12.

After the game, Nurkic said Green “needs help.”

“What’s going on him? I don’t know. Personally, I feel like that brother needs help,” Nurkic told reporters. “I’m glad he did not try to choke me but at the same time, it has nothing to do with basketball.”

“Man, I’m just out there trying to play basketball and [Green] swinging. I think we saw that often but I hope whatever he got in his life, he gets better.”

It was Green’s third ejection this season and 20th in his career. He was also earlier suspended for five games for putting Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert in a headlock on November 15. His first ejection of the season came against the Cleveland Cavaliers when he shoved Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell four days earlier on November 11.

Draymond Green’s Apology Not Enough

Green apologized to Nurkic during the postgame press conference and repeatedly said the hit was not intentional.

“I was pulling my hip and I was swinging away to sell the call then made contact with him. As you know, I’m not one to apologize for things I meant to do but I do apologize to Jusuf because I [hit him]. But I didn’t intend to hit him,” Green explained.

“I sell calls with my arms, I don’t fall to sell a call. I don’t because I’m not a flopper so I was just selling the call because he was grabbing me and pulling my hip back so I spun away and unfortunately I hit him and so, like I said, I apologize to Jusuf because I didn’t intend to hit him.”

Despite issuing an apology, the NBA saw a repeat offender and decided to help him clean his acts by directing him to undergo counseling while on suspension.

Massive Loss for Warriors

Green’s ejection led to a 20-10 Phoenix run that completely turned the tide of the game, underscoring his value to the Warriors.

“Huge, huge swing,” Kerr said of Green’s loss after the game. “We felt good about having him at the five, spreading the floor. We got shooters out there, obviously [his loss] changed the lineup.”

Kerr added that Green’s speed as a playmaking center could get Stephen Curry some space.

“He lost his poise,” Kerr said.

And now they lost him indefinitely which threatens to torpedo another championship window for the Warriors.

Last year, his punching incident with former Jordan Poole before the season fractured their chemistry which contributed to their second-round exit.