The Draymond Green Experience (DGE) — it’s complicated.
Do I believe Draymond deserved a flagrant two and an ejection for stomping on Damontas Sabonis’ chest?
Do I believe Sabonis flopped and whined and dirty played his way into Draymond’s head, and deserves much scorn?
Do I believe Draymond deserved a suspension for Game 3 of the Western Conference first round playoff game Thursday night?
The punishment had been meted. The Warriors felt the sting of Draymond’s absence in the Game 2 loss. And surely, Sabonis’ provoking tactics should have played a role in the judgment of a suspension.
But the Warriors got none of that in the Midnight Massacre press released dropped in the dark of night Tuesday from the NBA’s New York offices. They got the Game 3 death sentence.
And now the Draymond Haters rejoice. This is your fault for enabling him, they taunt the Warriors organization and fans. He’s cost you championships before, and he’ll cost you this series now, they taunt.
To which I say: Stop. You don’t get to tell us how to evaluate the Draymond Green Experience (DGE). It’s a family thing.
Like all family things, it’s complicated. Like all family things, there is gray area. And like all family things, we take our lead from the Corleone clan — don’t ever take sides against the family.
Every Draymond detractor has logic on their side. His impulse control is iffy. He can lose his temper and let it affect him and the team, as I was just saying to the Oklahoma City police officers who were called to the hallway in the 2016 playoffs when Draymond and Steve Kerr beefed in the locker room.
But those of us who have ridden the Draymond Green roller coaster ride since Draft Day 2012 are the ones qualified to speak on the DGE.
And those of us closest to the experience — seated at the family dinner table through the 2016 Game 5 suspension, through the 2022 “Whoop that Trick!” chant in Memphis, through the vitriolic hate chants in Boston, through the Jordan Poole punch and, yes, through the FOUR ENNN BEE AYYY CHAMPIONSHIPS — know that the DGE has been . . . totally worth it.
If you offered any Warriors fan, back on Draft Day 2012, a contract that included clauses of the entire DGE — all the ups, the downs, the flagrants, the ejections, the outbursts, the championships won, the championships lost — you’d sign on the dotted line in about two nanoseconds.
That doesn’t mean he’s St. Draymond. That doesn’t mean he’s not exasperating. That doesn’t mean that, even in his 11th NBA season, he can’t work on his self-discipline.
He can do better. But he’s Draymond. And with the DGE, you forgive a lot.
The NBA dealt Draymond a tough hand, citing his “past actions” as a malevolent actor. Truthfully, there is merit to the argument that were it a different player with a lesser rap sheet of flagrant fouls, perhaps there would be no suspension. And that’s part of the price we pay with the DGE.
And also truthfully, Draymond’s low points are part of his legacy. You can’t tell the Draymond Green Story — the chubby second-rounder out of Michigan State, by way of Saginaw, as he’ll proudly tell you, with not much of a chance to stick — without telling the story of the 2016 NBA Finals, and of the 2023 Kings series.
Thing is, the 2023 story isn’t over. There’s a scenario where the Warriors galvanize to win Game 3 at home, then welcome back No. 23 in Sunday’s Game 4, where a Warriors win changes everything.
Then, the Warriors and Kings would be knotted up in a best-of-three series. And Draymond Green would enter Golden 1 Center in a Game 5 lion’s den — and maybe even a Game 7 lion’s den.
The Draymond Green Experience continues, with the ending yet to be written.