What if it had been Draymond breaking Ja’s elbow?

Players who injure other players should be banned for as long as it takes for the player they hurt to get back on the court

Indian Ink
3 min readMay 5, 2022


Dillon Brooks’s dangerous play on Gary Payton (Courtesy AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

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Memphis Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks clubbed the airborne Gary Payton who was going up for a dunk, on his head. The powerful swing by the much bigger Brooks sent Payton awkwardly crashing to the floor, and broke his elbow.

Was this a cold-blooded move to take revenge for a foul by Draymond in the previous game? Or was it just meant to cripple the Golden State Warriors? If so, it’s working as Payton is the fastest defensive player on the Warriors. He would have been the key defender on the quicksilver Ja Morant, who ended up scoring 47 points in the game after Payton was injured.

These kinds of dangerous plays are killing the game. Some years ago, it was Warriors’ Zaza Pachulia who put the Spurs superstar Kawhi out of action just when he seemed to have the Warriors’ number. Even earlier during the season, the Bucks’ Grayson Allen took down airborne Alex Caruso breaking his wrist, and nearly ending the season of this spectacular player.

Or look at the 76ers Embid who had his face broken by the Raptor’s Pascal Siakam in their first-round closeout game. Though Embid seemed to be ok with Siakam, the video shows Siakam’s elbow was up in an odd way. Without their MVP frontrunner, the 76ers are now 0–2 to the Heat in the next round. What should have been a great contest, now looks likely to be a sweep by the Miami Heat.

In the previous game, the Warriors’ Draymond Green, was ejected for a foul on the Grizzlies’ Brandon Clarke. Though Brandon wasn’t injured, and Draymond tried to break his fall, he was ejected. That punishment plus an additional one-game suspension was imposed on Dillon Brooks though he injured Payton, which just doesn’t make sense. In the next game (in which Payton was injured), Draymond went on to take an elbow in the face for which he required stitches. Later on in the game, Ja got poked in the eye. I know it’s playoffs when things get physical. But it’s still sad because the Grizzlies and Warriors are so talented and fun to watch, and they don’t need to stoop to this level.

Gary Payton’s career could have been finished by that one act. If that had happened, it would have been really unfair how Dillon Brooks who is responsible, gets away with just an ejection in one game. Ideally, such players should be banned from the game for the same time that it takes for the player they injured to recover. Hitting them in the pocket will make such players think twice about making such dangerous plays.

Draymond has a podcast, which I find to be quite interesting because of his insights as a top basketball player. I think what Draymond needs to ask in his next podcast, is “Would the punishment have been the same if it was I, Draymond Green, who had broken Ja Morant’s elbow with a similar foul?”

Whatever. The NBA needs to lay down the rules on dangerous plays if it wants to keep the spirit of the game alive.