One of the biggest question marks that will always be part of NBA history is what would’ve happened if Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green had not been suspended in the 2016 NBA Finals. Would LeBron James have 4 championships right now? Would Green, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson have 5 rings? And most notably, would Kevin Durant still have joined the Warriors if they won in 2016?
There were so many what-ifs and aftershocks that arose after Green’s suspension. While the end result in 2016 didn’t favor the Warriors, Green doesn’t regret his suspension one bit. According to the 4-time champion, he would even do it again if he had the chance.
Green admits he cost the Warriors a championship
Before Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals, the Warriors were up 2-1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. While on the verge of winning Game 5, Green (who was 1 flagrant or 2 technical fouls away from getting a suspension) couldn't control his temper.
James was given a technical foul, but since Green went over his flagrant foul limit in the Playoffs, he was suspended for a game and fined $129,000. The forward believes that this was what eventually cost him and his team the championship that year.
“I cost us a championship. I’m fine with that. I can take that on the chin, no problem. I own up to my mistakes. Would I do it again? One thousand percent,” Green said in his latest on the Checc’n-in podcast.
After Green was suspended, the Cavaliers eventually pioneered the most remarkable comeback in NBA history. Down 3-1, James averaged 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 steals, and 2.3 blocks per game to lead his home team to the finish line. The momentum strongly shifted on Cleveland’s side after Green’s suspension, which played a massive role in how that series concluded.
Green’s 2016 suspension changed NBA history
According to The Ringer’s Bill Simmons, Green’s 2016 suspension served as a turning point in NBA history. If Green wasn’t suspended and the Warriors eventually won the finals, would KD still have gone to the Warriors? Durant’s tenure in Golden State forced several NBA teams to adjust and make moves to compete against arguably the most dominant squad of all time.
If the Warriors did win in 2016, Simmons mentioned that Durant would’ve probably chosen to go to the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, or even New York Knicks. The Warriors wouldn’t be as dominant as they were with Durant in the following years, and who knows what could’ve happened to James, Curry, and even Green.
Green’s suspension was definitely a turning point in NBA history — but at the very least, he has no regrets about being the reason behind it at all.