Draymond Green’s last game of 2017 didn’t go as planned.
The All-Star forward logged just 10 minutes before earning his second technical foul of the game in the Golden State Warriors’ 141-128 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Several videos questioned the legitimacy of his ejection: On the second tech, Green was hardly demonstrative, and it looked to be a dubious decision by the official. But the damage is done, and the Dubs now have to figure out how to keep Green from reaching his 16th technical foul of the season, which triggers an automatic one-game suspension. He has 10 entering tonight’s matchup against the Dallas Mavericks.
Draymond was ejected in the first half after these technical fouls. pic.twitter.com/X8XnZRnPC5
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 31, 2017
The Warriors’ biggest problem is they don’t want him to necessarily tone it down.
His passion “is what makes him great,” head coach Steve Kerr told reporters on Tuesday. “There’s just a point where he’s going to have to pull back. There’s nothing any of us can do. He has to feel that moment. We can talk to the league and plead our case, but ultimately it’s up to him to feel when he has to pull back.”
Green has been proficient in pushing it to the brink and pulling back. Last year, he finished with 15 technicals after promising he wouldn’t be suspended for arguing with the officials.
But there will always be notable moments, like when he was suspended in the 2016 NBA Finals, that will lead people to be skeptical of Green’s ability to make changes when they matter most.
For Kerr, there’s no point in the team actively trying to reel him in.
“Why would we?” he asked. “Draymond is one of the most impactful players in the league. He does so many great things for us. He gives us an edge that we otherwise don’t have.”
Green and Kevin Durant lead the league in technical fouls with 10 and eight, respectively.
“I think he’s played really well and handled himself really well,” Kerr said. “One tech is fine, you know? … He has to keep it to one tech. Because we need him desperately on the floor.”