There are times when the trivial concerns of the sports world get drawn into stark relief.
A week like the one we just had in Colorado, with one horrible tragedy stacked upon another, certainly feels like one of those times.
Nevertheless, the Grading the Week staff knows this is a place readers often go to escape the horrors of the real world. And luckily for us, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green provided us with a topic just divisive and inconsequential enough to serve as an appropriate distraction.
Draymond Green — D+
In this week’s least shocking development, Golden State’s star forward feels cheated.
The transgressor? That would be none other than the NBA and, by extension, the Denver Nuggets for not having enough able-bodied players to host his Warriors on Thursday night at Ball Arena.
“How do you continue to cancel games when you’ve implemented rules to prevent this from happening?” Green tweeted out to his 1.5 million followers Thursday afternoon. “Is that not a competitive advantage for other teams? The guys we didn’t have due to the protocol list played no role in Tuesdays loss? Pick a side but don’t straddle the fence.”
First, let’s address Draymond’s easily answerable, possibly rhetorical, question:
A COVID-19 outbreak discovered by the Nuggets on Thursday morning sent coach Michael Malone, two assistant coaches and three players (Jeff Green, Bones Hyland and Zeke Nnaji) into health and safety protocols. On top of that, the Nuggets had eight players sidelined by injuries, including four listed as questionable (three of whom did not play in Tuesday night’s 89-86 win in San Francisco).
That left seven players available Thursday night — one short of the eight required by the NBA. The only way they could’ve reached that number on such short notice would’ve been to either force one of their questionable players to suit up (and potentially play with an injury), or sign some schmuck off the street right before tip.
(Note to Nuggets president Tim Connelly: We are more than happy to fulfill this role if the need ever arises again.)
Obviously, any reasonable person would chalk this up to impossible timing for the Nuggets, who had little to no time to restock their roster for a game scheduled mere hours later, and poor luck for the Warriors, who themselves were forced to play Denver with just 10 players two nights earlier.
Unfortunately, as bright as he might be, Draymond is not always reasonable.
This is, after all, a man who recently said it was Warriors coach Steve Kerr and team president Bob Myers’ fault that the 2018-19 Warriors splintered in the wake of Green’s on-court tantrum directed at Kevin Durant after a loss to the L.A. Clippers. Because, apparently, they were just supposed to endure Draymond’s sporadic spaz-outs without addressing them — even if his unhinged behavior once cost the Warriors a championship (see: 2016 NBA Finals).
All that being said, we can certainly understand Green’s frustration with Thursday’s events.
His Warriors are locked into a tight battle with Phoenix and Utah for the top spot in the Western Conference. Any advantage counts.
But in a world that changes by the hour, expecting the NBA to be anything other than flexible is folly.