Should Draymond Green, Warriors expect another suspension? + a Detroit Pistons audit

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 Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after being ejected for a flagrant foul during the second half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center on December 12, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Warriors 119-116. 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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Rest in Power to Andre Braugher, an all-time artist and performer. 🙏


Another Draymond Suspension is Coming

Will he ever learn?

Remember when Draymond Green had Rudy Gobert in a chokehold a couple weeks ago? It got Green his longest suspension and the lengthiest ban delivered by Adam Silver for an on-court incident: five games.

Well, prepare to refresh Shams’ Twitter feed to see Green’s next suspension. In the 10-13 Warriors’ 119-116 loss to the Suns (13-10), Green was ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul after whipping around and striking Jusuf Nurkić in the face with 8:23 left in the third. At that point, the Warriors led 65-60 before eventually trailing by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter. Nurkić joked postgame he’s glad Green didn’t try to choke him.

The latter apologized in the postgame presser and did some damage control by calling it unintentional, as he claimed to be selling a foul for Nurkić grabbing his hip. Green claimed he’s not an accurate enough puncher to do a full spin and connect.

Once again, Commissioner Silver must make a choice about how harsh to be here. There’s no credible propaganda to claim Nurkić had Klay Thompson in a chokehold to justify violence by Green. This was simply some weak battling for positioning ending with Green striking Nurkić.

After last month’s five-gamer, Green has been suspended a total of nine games in his career. In that suspension, the NBA cited Green’s history as reason for the “harsh” (my own word) suspension. I’ve had group chats estimating either another five-gamer, an increase to 10 or maybe even a Malice at the Palace-type of hammer.

My guess is he’ll get five to seven games. But will it change Green’s future behavior? He proudly claims nobody can stop him from being him, and the Warriors have benefited more than suffered from that approach. I’d expect a pretty solid punishment for Green, even by Silver’s standards.

In other ejection news: 

The Chicago Bulls hosted Serbian Heritage Night with Nikola Jokić and the Denver Nuggets in town. Chicago has the largest Serbian population outside of Serbia, so it’s a treat to watch Jokić once a year … for a half.

After not getting a foul call with 1:08 left in the second quarter, Jokić yelled at the ref on his way up the floor. He was given one technical foul and ejected from the game. The pool report after the game offers an embarrassing lack of clarification by Mark Lindsay.

Some reports said it was due to Jokić dropping an elongated “MFer.” Both the Bulls’ announcing team and fans objected to Jokić’s exit. Denver still won the game 114-106 and moved to 16-9. Chicago (9-16) has lost two straight. NBA referees remain unfair and generally inconsistent with ejections this season.


The Latest From Shams

All eyes on Warriors

In addition to the Draymond Green situation detailed above, Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney were all benched in the loss to the Suns. It’ll be interesting to see how Warriors coach Steve Kerr shuffles his lineups during a potential Green absence and, perhaps more interestingly, when he returns.

Klay Thompson: “Of course it frustrates me. You think I’m gonna just chill? I’m freaking competitive man…But whatever. I guess I didn’t bring it tonight. I deserved it.”

Article includes full transcript of Klay’s reaction to first crunch time benching https://t.co/EayvnD5CT3

— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 13, 2023

Of that lineup shuffle, Thompson’s situation stands out as the most notable. As The Athletic reported right before the season, contract negotiations between Thompson and the Warriors stalled over salary and length of an extension being discussed. I’m told the Warriors were offering Thompson a two-year deal in the range of $48 million before the season. Thompson, who turns 34 in February, is making $43.2 million this season and will be a free agent this summer.

How things unfold in Golden State on and off the court in the coming days and weeks will certainly be one of the league’s most intriguing storylines to watch.


Pistons Audit

How bad are they after 20 straight L’s?

The Pistons (2-21) have lost 20 in a row! That’s insane. Their losing streak is tied for the longest by any team in the last decade (2020-21 Rockets). The Pistons are bad, sporting the NBA’s worst win percentage (.239) since Troy Weaver was hired as GM in June of 2020 while getting less competitive every year. 

The scary thing? They’ve been trying to win these past two seasons, going 19-86 in this time. Let’s break down the situation.

What’s their biggest problem? They’re truly bad at almost everything on a basketball court: offense, defense, shooting, turnovers. Rebounding is their only strength (14th in rebounds per game).

Chalk it up to injuries? Monté Morris hasn’t played. Bojan Bogdanović has played four games. Jalen Duren has been injured a couple times. That’s not enough to lose 20 straight.

Wasn’t Monty Williams supposed to fix this? He was but hasn’t. Somehow, the situation is even worse. He’s playing confusing lineups.

Are they drafting poorly? Weaver’s biggest miss was Killian Hayes over Tyrese Haliburton. Jaden Ivey over Bennedict Mathurin, Shaedon Sharpe and Jalen Williams doesn’t look ideal.

Is Cade Cunningham a franchise guy? This is the ultimate question. He can’t finish or shoot unless wide-open. He’s terrible in second halves and struggles with turnovers. It’s Year 3, but I’m unsure the 2021 No. 1 overall pick has progressed.

Who are their keepers? I’d invest in Ausar Thompson and Duren (both 20 years old). Everybody else is expendable, even Cunningham (22) if we don’t see a strong finish to this season.

How bad can it get? “Breaking” the 1972-73 76ers’ record for worst win percentage in an 82-game season (.110, 9-73 overall) is on the table.

Final determination: The Pistons are the new Wolves/Kings. For a decade-plus, those teams tried to be good but were perpetually awful. Detroit might just need to tear it all down.


On This Date

The highest-scoring game in NBA history

Pistons fans, let’s enjoy some nostalgia from this very date in 1983, when the Pistons and Nuggets partook in the highest-scoring game in NBA history, a 186-184 3OT win for Detroit. The big three of David Aldridge, James Edwards III and Tony Jones put together an oral history of that game. My favorite thing from this was definitely Isiah Thomas thinking “altitude” was a man named “Al Titude.”

If you attended this game in Denver on that fateful night, you more than got your money’s worth. Here’s what you saw:

  • The game was tied 145-145 after regulation.
  • Both teams went 1-of-2 from the 3-point line. 🤯
  • The Nuggets had 24 turnovers. The Pistons missed 23 free throws.
  • Pistons: Thomas had 47 points and 17 assists. John Long scored 4. Kelly Triupucka dropped 35.
  • Nuggets: Kiki Vandeweghe had 51 points. Alex English added 47 as the team shot 59.1 percent from the field.

The game marked a truly brilliant display of offense. I wonder if the Hawks and Pacers could break this record … in regulation?


Bounce Passes

John Hollinger and Eric Koreen discuss the Raptors’ trade possibilities.

Per Jeff Schultz, maybe the main pieces are the Hawks’ problem.

My latest Power Rankings! Are the Lakers contenders again.


Screen Game (All times Eastern)

  • Main Screen: Pacers-Bucks (8 p.m.). Two of the best offenses and worst defenses. NBA Cup revenge game. This game has it all – except defense.

  • Second Screen: Lakers–Spurs (8 p.m. NBA TV). Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs badly need a win. NBA Cup trap game for the Lakers?

  • League Pass Game of the Night: Nets-Suns (9 p.m.). We still haven’t seen the big three for Phoenix, but this should be a fun back-and-forth. Full schedule here.

(Top photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images)

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