Kiki VanDeWeghe Comments on Draymond Green’s Flagrant Foul vs. Rockets
Vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe stressed on Sunday the NBA is not targeting Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green with some of its rules.
Green was whistled for a critical flagrant foul when he flailed his leg and made contact with James Harden’s headin entertainment news articles double overtime during Thursday’s 132-127 loss to the Houston Rockets. It was reminiscent of a couple of Green’s postseason plays, but VanDeWeghe said the rules are in place for all players, per Sam Amick of USA Today.
“Our rules are for every player,” he said. “We want each play judged according to the rules, as best possible, and the rules applied fairly across our whole league. That’s very important to us. We don’t make exceptions for players. They are applied to everybody.”
This game is so good that Draymond thinks it’s the playoffs… pic.twitter.com/yKAzbkhQXH
Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 2, 2016
The Rockets seized momentum in that double-overtime period after a back-and-forth affair. In addition to Green’s kick, reigning MVP Stephen Curry fouled out, and Harden put the finishing touches on his triple-double of 29 points, 13 assists and 15 rebounds.
VanDeWeghe discussed the specific play involving Green, per Amick:
In Draymond’s particular case (against theHouston Rocketson Thursday), he had an arm flail which struck the player (James Harden) in the neck-head area. And then in addition to that,he had a kick up above the head of the defender. As he brought his leg down, his heel hit him in the face. It wouldnt matter what player were talking about (it’s a foul).
VanDeWeghe also said the league spent time during the offseason discussing “unnatural acts” like the kick.
“Most of these are done to draw the attention of the referees,” he said, per Amick. “We noticed an uptick in these last year, and they needed to be addressed by the competition committee.”
According to Anthony Slater of the Mercury News, the NBA sanctioned against unnatural contact like Green’s play during the offseason after Green’s kicks became a major storyline in the postseason.”
Green was sarcastically impressed by how those in the league office could determine what an unnatural movement was after the game, per Slater:
Draymond Green: “I didn’t know people in the league office were that smart when it came to body movements…Maybe they took kinesiology.” pic.twitter.com/hWVIhgP4r9
Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 3, 2016
Green also took to Twitter and suggested his past incidents played a role in his most recent flagrant foul and shared images of the Bad Boy Pistons, who were known for their physicality andin the eyes of somedirty play as they won two straight NBA titles in 1989 and 1990.
Draymond Green (@Money23Green) December 2, 2016pic.twitter.com/ndsfxANE4r
Draymond Green (@Money23Green) December 2, 2016
While Green’s flagrant foul helped cost the Warriors the game on Thursday, it was far less costly than his incidents in the postseason.
He generated nationwide attention when he kicked Steven Adams in the groin area during the Western Conference Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Slater said the blows to Adams “sparked the discussion about the sanctions around these types of actions.”
Green was then retroactively assessed a flagrant-1 foul for punching at LeBron James’ groin area in Game 4 of the NBA Finals after the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar stepped over him following a play. While James may have been serving as something of an instigator in that case, Green was suspended for Game 5 because he exceeded the NBA’s flagrant foul points during the playoffs.
With the versatile superstar sidelined, the Cavaliers won Game 5 and parlayed that momentum into two straight victories and a dramatic 3-1 comeback to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
While Green may feel “marked,” his physicality has cost the Warriors in the past and could come into play again after the league specifically discussed these types of plays.