SAN FRANCISCO — Draymond Green is enjoying basketball a lot more these days. And it’s not just because his Golden State Warriors have started the season 5-1 after a 103-82 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.
“Can I also say how satisfying it’s been to watch the game of basketball without all those bulls— calls,” Green said after the win, unprompted. “I’m sorry, I’m not supposed to curse in interviews, right? Can I say how satisfying it is to watch the game without all those terrible calls. Guys cheating the game and grabbing guys and getting the foul. I’ve been really enjoying watching basketball this year.
“I kind of had stopped watching the NBA a bit because it was just too flailing and flopping and guys cheating the game and getting free throws. So I think that’s been great. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that because I think that’s been fantastic.”
The NBA this summer enacted new rules against offensive players initiating contact or flailing while trying to draw foul calls. Green, one of the league’s most respected defenders, says the adjustment by the officials in the way the game is now being called has been felt by the players.
“You can 100 percent feel it,” Green said. “Because you don’t have guys doing the garbage to try and draw fouls anymore. I think this game was turning into who can draw the most fouls? Nobody wants to watch that and you definitely don’t want to play in a game like that. So you can feel the difference out there for sure. It’s just more pure basketball and that’s great for our game.”
Two-time MVP Stephen Curry agreed with Green’s assessment, saying there’s a lot less “egregious plays,” which makes the games better to watch.
“I’ve been watching around the league and for the most part, I’d say about 9 out of 10 calls that used to go the other way are not, for good reason,” Curry said. “There’s probably some that are still in that gray area where they’ll get more consistent, but it’s great for the game. I know a lot of fans are loving it. The defensive-minded players are loving it, for us to put the ball in the basket, focus on that. I’ve tried to my entire career so I don’t think it’s a huge adjustment, but I like it.”
Green said that the issues have been going on for a long time, but he commended the league for making the shift when it did, noting that watching the Olympics — which are played under FIBA rules — this summer likely helped push the change in officiating.
“James is one of the best at it,” Green said. “At driving and drawing fouls, drawing fouls from the three-point line, he’s one of the best at it. So I definitely remember those games of him going 24-for-24 from the free-throw line. And when you got a guy that shifty, and the moment you touch him they can hook and you’re called for a foul, it’s impossible to guard. You started to see a lot of guys master it, but they all learned from James for sure because he was the master before anybody else ever picked it up.”
As a defender, Green said the inability to be more physical with players, and the way the whistles were called, always hovered in his mind. But as both a player and a fan, Green is just happy the adjustments regarding offensive players trying to create contact has been made.
“The game is flowing better,” Green said. “And I think you’re seeing much better basketball. You’re not seeing 147 to 139. I think I saw the Celtics and Washington went to double overtime and the final score was maybe 104-102 or something like that. We went to overtime the other day, the final score was 104-101 and there’s great basketball taking place. So kudos to the NBA on that. It’s been great to see.”