RDT Schedule Analysis – Week 20 – Weird Suspensions

Updated: March 4, 2018

What an interesting week it has been in the NBA this week. Anthony Davis continued to dominate, James Harden embarrassed either himself, or Lou Williams (depending on who you talk to), and J.R. Smith got one of the weirdest suspensions in the history of the league (he threw soup at assistant coach Damon Jones).

In light of J.R.’s antics, I thought it might be fun to look at some of the other bizarre suspensions in the NBA.

Joey Crawford

Let’s start with a referee! We all love it when a ref/ump gets a taste of their own medicine, and Crawford was know for his temperamental attitude. He had one of the most interesting exchanges I have ever seen with future NBA Hall of Famer – and consensus great bloke – Tim Duncan. The San Antonio Spur legend obviously got under Crawford’s skin in a game in April 2007, resulting in Crawford (allegedly) challenging Duncan to a fight! What followed was almost as laughable (pun intended). Duncan was sitting on the bench when he he received a technical foul for saying “The ball doesn’t lie” when a Dallas player missed a free throw following a questionable call. Duncan was then still on the bench when Crawford made another foul call, and responded with laughter and hand claps. This was apparently too much for the ref, who issued Tim with his second tech, and resulted in his automatic ejection from the game.  Sounds too weird to be true? I agree, but here is the proof.

The NBA came down hard on Crawford, citing him for ‘improper conduct’ and ‘inappropriate comments made to Duncan during a game.’ David Stern suspended him indefinitely, resulting in him not officiating a game for the rest of the 06/07 season. He was re-instated at the start of the 07/08 season.

Stacey Augmon

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The ‘plastic man’ – so named for his ability to ‘stretch’ his body – felt the ire of the NBA due to his brain snap in a press conference following a loss with Orlando in the 04/05 season. The Magic had just been rolled by 16 points, and Augmon was in no mood to speak to the media. He also wasn’t impressed that team mate Steve Francis didn’t share his view. During Francis’ post match press conference, a reporter asked him if “the wheels were coming off?” Augmon called from elsewhere in the locker room that it was a “stupid F%&#ing question”, repeatedly. The reporter understandably got jack of the situation, and informed Augmon that he was interviewing Francis, not Augmon. This resulted  in Augmon throwing a plastic lotion bottle at the reporter, which earned him a one game suspension from the league.

Chris Mills

I tried to stay away from “Player X was suspended for fighting” incidents when looking at this week’s article. Consequently, there is no ‘Malice in the Palace’ listing. However,  I couldn’t go past Golden State Warrior Chris Mills in the 2001/02 season. In a game against the Portland Trailblazers, Mills apparently became incensed at the hard play of the Blazers. Following a game winning shot by Portland’s Rasheed Wallace, a brawl broke out as the Blazer’s players tried to leave the floor, with Mills and Portland guard Bonzi Wells exchanging blows.

As I said, this normally wouldn’t warrant a mention in this list, but what happened afterwards was truly bizarre. First, Mills tried to enter the Portland locker room, and was understandably turned away. Not to be denied, Mills decided to park his car in front of the Portland team bus to prevent them leaving the arena! Eventually, a police escort led the Blazers to safety, and Mills was given a 3 game suspension by the NBA.

Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green

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The most recent incident on this list, and similar to the Mills scenario where players attempted to take an on-court issue further after the game.

Following a spiteful game between Chris Paul’s new team – the Houston Rockets – and his old team – the LA Clippers – at the Staples Centre, Houston players Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green attempted to enter the Clippers locker room using a ‘secret passage’ to discuss the game with the main Clippers protagonist Blake Griffin. One can assume Chris Paul’s inside knowledge of his old home stadium aided the attempted stealth incursion. It seemed like a military operation with secret tunnels and diversion tactics (Rockets forward Clint Capela tried to enter the Clippers locker room through the front door, whilst his team mates tried to sneak in the back way).

Ariza and Green were both handed 2 match suspensions by the NBA.

Latrell Sprewell

A lot of players have been accused of choking on the big stage, but only Latrell Sprewell has literally choked in the NBA. During a practice in December of the 1997/98 season, Sprewell took offense at a request from Head Coach PJ Carlesimo to ‘put a little mustard’ on his passes. The resulting argument became extremely heated, and once Carlesimo walked to within arms length of Sprewell, the player grabbed his coach by the throat, threw him to the floor and continued choking him until they were separated.

The Warriors initially voided Sprewell’s contract, but this was overturned on appeal, and Sprewell was handed a 68 game suspension (the second longest non-drug related suspension in NBA history. In case you are wondering, Ron Artest’s 73 games for his role in the ‘Malice in the Palace’ is the longest).

Gilbert Arenas and Javeris Crittendon

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Given the current political and social environment in the USA around gun control, it is no surprise that the weirdest (and scariest) suspension resulted from a player having a firearm in the locker room.

What apparently started as an $1100 card game debt, quickly escalated to a potentially fatal locker room showdown. Wizards team mate Caron Butler recounts the situation is his 2015 book “Tuff Juice: My Journey from the Streets to the NBA.”

The two of them kept arguing as we buckled up for the landing.

They were still going at it when we all got on an airport shuttle van to take us to our vehicles.

Ernie Grunfeld, the team president, leaned over to me and said in a pleading manner, “Talk to them.”

“I did,” I told him, “but they keep arguing.”

Everyone could hear Gilbert and Javaris going at it as we rode along.

“I’ll see your [expletive] at practice and you know what I do,” Gilbert said.

“What the [expletive] you mean, you know what I do?” replied Javaris.

“I play with guns.”

“Well I play with guns, too.”

Two days later before practice:

When I entered the locker room, I thought I had somehow been transported back to my days on the streets of Racine. Gilbert was standing in front of his two locker stalls, the ones previously used by Michael Jordan, with four guns on display. Javaris was standing in front of his own stall, his back to Gilbert.

“Hey, [expletive], come pick one,” Gilbert told Javaris while pointing to the weapons. “I’m going to shoot your [expletive] with one of these.”

“Oh no, you don’t need to shoot me with one of those,” said Javaris, turning around slowly like a gunslinger in the Old West. “I’ve got one right here.”

He pulled out his own gun, already loaded, cocked it, and pointed it at Gilbert.

Other players who had been casually arriving, laughing and joking with each other, came to a sudden halt, their eyes bugging out. It took them only a few seconds to realize this was for real, a shootaround of a whole different nature.

They all looked at each other and then they ran, the last man out locking the door behind him.

I didn’t panic because I’d been through far worse, heard gunshots more times than I could count, and seen it all before. This would have been just another day on the south side.

I talked calmly to Javaris, reminding him that his entire career, not to mention, perhaps, his life, would be over if he flicked that trigger finger.

I looked back at Gilbert. He was silent as he removed himself from the scene.

Javaris slowly lowered the gun.

I know that Gilbert was thinking, “I went too far. I had a gun pointed at me and it was loaded.”

Somebody outside the locker room called 911. Flip Saunders was the coach back then, but he was too scared to even come into the locker room.

Understandably, the NBA came down hard on both players. Both players were initially suspended indefinitely, which later turned out to be the rest of the season (around 55 games). Crittendon never played in the NBA again, and despite being an All-Star on a massive salary, Arenas was also out of the league within two years.

This story also has an extremely sad post-script. Javaris Crittendon is currently serving a long prison sentence for another gun related incident that went horribly wrong. Crittendon plead guilty as part of a plea deal in 2015 for an incident in 2011 that resulted in the death of a mother of 4 in a drive-by shooting. He is currently serving a 23 year jail sentence for his crime.

Schedule Breakdown

Trade Targets – 8 Game Teams

Houston (@OKC, @Mil, @Tor, @Dal) – Despite being an 8 game fortnight team, be very wary of picking up Rockets players this week. They have a very tough road trip week, with games against the finals bound Thunder, Bucks and Raptors, before finishing off with the Mavs. MVP favourite James Harden needs to be a lock, and will surely see a rise in his 40% of ownership. It is team mates Chris Paul and Clint Capela who you need to be wary of. Whilst still scoring decently, they do not have the consistency of Harden, and I can see them with a game or two under 20 points. Not what you need in the last week of the RDT regular season.

New Orleans (@LAC, @Sac, Was, Uta) – Speaking of MVP’s, the Pelican’s Anthony Davis is making a late run at the prize. He has been in full beast mode over the last month since fellow All-Star team mate DeMarcus Cousins’ season ended with an Achilles injury. He will be an genuine captain option (I would be surprised if he is not Dos’ number 1, but I’ll leave that to him) and I can see him monstoring the hapless Kings for 50+ points in his second game of the week. The only issue there would be as it is a back to back, if the game is not close, he may not even play the last quarter. Even if that occurs though, he will still be good for 35+ Fantasy points.

If you are after a bit of value however, Davis’ team mate Jrue Holiday is worth a look. He is priced at under $10 million, and is averaging 22 Fantasy ppg for the season. He scored a huge 139 points in Week 18 (35 Fantasy ppg) and so far in Week 19 has scored 26 and 23 Fantasy points, with one game to come.

Toronto (Atl, @Det, Hou, @NYK) – The Raptors are once again quietly putting together a magnificent NBA season. They are currently sitting atop the Eastern Conference with a 44-17 record, and 9 wins in their last 10 games. Apart from their physical location, one of the main reasons that they have gone under the radar is their lack of a genuine superstar. No Raptors player is currently worth more than $10 million in RDT NBA, with DeMar DeRozan the highest averaging play (22.7 Fppg).

If you are after value this week, both Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry are under $9 million. Just be aware that they can both go missing in games, and score you less than 15 Fantasy points.

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Written by Archie Keeler (@OTLSArchie)

Header graphic by Corey Wade Media (@OTLSCorey)

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