Skip to Content

Draymond Green Ejected In The First Quarter, To The Tearful Exasperation Of His Team

Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors argues with a referee before being ejected during a game against the Orlando Magic at Kia Center on March 27, 2024 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Draymond Green has been on good behavior since the league-mandated counseling and 12-game suspension that concluded in early January. That mild praise says as much about his changed ways as it does about the steady desensitization to that behavior. After all, on Tuesday he yanked Patty Mills to the floor by his throat and got away with just a common foul, and I thought about it for maybe a second before I went on with my evening. Green remains in steadfast pursuit of novel methods to maim his opponents while staying within the letter of the law, and he hadn't been ejected from a game since whipping a spinning fist into Jusuf Nurkic's face on Dec. 12. That well-behaved streak ended Wednesday evening.

Green was ejected with 8:24 left in the first quarter of the Golden State Warriors' road game against the Orlando Magic. While disputing a foul call on teammate Steph Curry, Green lit into the refs. Crew chief Mitchell Erwin explained in the pool report: "After a prolonged diatribe, Green directed egregious profane language towards a game official." Erwin denied that Green's rich history affected the officials' judgment. It doesn't take a professional lipreader to make out the last phrase Green uttered before the whistle blew for the second technical.

This was the fourth ejection of Green's most self-sabotaging season to date. According to ESPN he now has 19 regular-season ejections overall, which puts him in second place among all players in the last 25 seasons, behind only Rasheed Wallace with 25. "It was unfortunate," head coach Steve Kerr said. "He deserved it."

Nobody took this development harder than Curry, Green's teammate and inveterate apologist. He wept, for there were no more Draymonds to eject.

That's the frog crying after the scorpion receives a double-technical, although I suppose in this metaphor the frog and scorpion have collaborated on a run of era-defining basketball success. Curry, who at 36 is barely but perceptibly sliding out of his prime, has to be weighing his teammate's on-court production against his potential for disruptive tragicomedy. While Green still has a decent chunk of his peak defensive value, he's become a different kind of a liability.

The rest of the Warriors cannot subsidize this in the long term. The final piece of the triumvirate, Klay Thompson, has slipped in and out of the starting lineup, and is a long way from the defender and flamethrower of old. Chris Paul is doing as much as he can at this advanced stage of decomposition. It turns out that Andrew Wiggins really only cared for a roughly five-month span of his career. The rookie-contract kids are admirably picking up some of the slack, but not all of it. Thus the 2022 champs currently languish in 10th place in the West, clinging to a play-in berth, although they have one of the easiest schedules in the NBA to close out the regular season.

Even without Green, Golden State survived for one night. The Warriors held the Magic to 42 percent shooting from the field, and ground out a 101-93 win. Wiggins offered 13 of his team-high 23 points in the fourth quarter to put the Magic away. Green was happy to see it.

What Nurkic said in December, before Green's suspension and counseling, remains as true now: "That brother needs help."

If you liked this blog, please share it! Your referrals help Defector reach new readers, and those new readers always get a few free blogs before encountering our paywall.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter