NBA fans, players and pundits took turns this week dissecting Draymond Green’s indefinite suspension after he punched Jusuf Nurkic in the face during the Warriors’ loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.
The latest player to discuss the incident is one of Green’s former targets: Minnesota Timberwolves big man Rudy Gobert.
“I sympathize with him” Gobert told ESPN After the Timberwolves defeated the Dallas Mavericks 119-101 on Thursday night. “You see someone who’s not doing well and struggling. You’re taking away the game and all that, and you want someone to be good and be able to do what we do every night and compete and be happy.”
Gobert understands how Nurkic feels, as the 7-foot-1 quarterback had a similar on-court encounter with Green not long ago.
After Klay Thompson and Jaden McDaniels got into a heated brawl just 100 seconds into Golden State’s loss to Minnesota on Nov. 14, Gobert attempted to push Thompson away before Green choked him and dragged him across the court for several seconds.
Green, Thompson, and McDaniels were all ejected from the game, and the NBA later suspended Green for five games for his role in the altercation.
Green said in a recent interview with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne He saw a video of Gobert’s incident on his phone and was immediately surprised by his actions.
“When I watched it again, I said, ‘Damn, I held him for a lot longer than I realized in that moment,’” Green told Shelburne. “But the truth is, in those moments you don’t know what time it is. “You have no sense of time.”
About a month after the Gobert incident, after committing to the team and promising to be better, Green once again found himself in the same situation. This time, it was in the third quarter of Tuesday’s game against the Suns and it came on an inbounds play in which Green thought Nurkic was holding his waist, so he swung to sell a foul call but instead hit Nurkic in the face.
The result was an indefinite suspension by the NBA, which did not want to put a number on the suspension because league officials wanted Green to take the time he needed to correct his condition before returning to the court.
“I’m not sure what that really means, so it’s hard to know,” Gobert said regarding the indefinite suspension. “I mean you don’t want someone to get hurt too badly. You have to fix it. That’s all.”
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