OAKLAND, Calif. — Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr publicly lobbied Saturday for the NBA office to reconsider its procedure for suspending players for technical fouls accumulated in the playoffs, a suggestion he has previously made behind the scenes in the offseason.
Players are automatically suspended after receiving seven technical fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct in the playoffs, although the league office has the right to rescind a technical after reviewing it, meaning it would not count toward that total.
“Well, if we go to Finals, I think Draymond (Green) and Kevin (Durant) are each on pace for about 42 technicals and six suspensions, so hopefully we can withstand that,” Kerr said, cracking a smile before becoming serious.
“I will never understand the rule that everybody falls under the exact same category, in terms of whether you lose in four games in the first round or you play 25 games and you go to the Finals, that it’s the same technical fouls points that lead to a suspension. It seems strange.
“But I do know that Kevin and Draymond have a good feel for when they reach that number. They generally are able to shut that off, shut that emotion off and stay on the floor. That’s going to be important.”
Green and Durant both officially have two technical fouls counted toward their total after the Warriors eliminated the LA Clippers in six games in the opening round. Durant was called for three technicals during the series — including two when he was ejected along with Clippers guard Patrick Beverley in Game 1 — but the one assessed to him in Game 3 was rescinded.
Kerr indicated that the Warriors hope that the technical foul Green received in Friday’s Game 6 win over the Clippers will be rescinded. Green was suspended for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals for reaching the threshold for flagrant foul points in the playoffs.
“I thought it was way too quick,” Kerr said of the Game 6 tech. “I think he said, ‘Tell me what I have to do to be better.’ I think he was called for a foul, I think he had good verticality. It was a questionable call, but that happens all the time. He ran over to [referee David Guthrie] and said, ‘Tell me what I have to do to defend that better,’ and he got a T. I was surprised. We’ll see what happens, but we’ve got to understand that we’ve got to be on alert, because the rules are the rules in terms of the suspensions and all that stuff.”
Players are automatically suspended after receiving 16 unsportsmanlike technical fouls during the regular season. Durant was tied with Oklahoma City‘s Russell Westbrook for the most technical fouls in the league this regular season with 17, but he avoided suspension because one was rescinded and his last technical came in the final game.
Green had 16, but one was called for hanging on the rim, which is not viewed by the league as unsportsmanlike and does not count toward the total for a potential suspension.
Kerr said he isn’t certain how the league should handle suspensions for technical during the playoffs, but he hopes the league office will consider a change.
“I don’t know. That’s a good question,” Kerr said when asked how he would change the policy. “Series by series or maybe every two series. Just the way it is now doesn’t make a ton of sense. I’d like to see it revisited, but that’s coming from a guy whose team gets a lot of technical fouls and plays deep in the playoffs. So I’m a little biased.”