What Gets Players 1-Game Suspensions in the NBA

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What Gets Players 1-Game Suspensions in the NBA
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The NBA handed down a one-game suspension to New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony for attempting to confront Kevin Garnett after New York's loss Monday to the Boston Celtics.

The suspension was the 11th doled out by the league or by individual teams this season, and the eighth one-game suspension of the year.

I point that out mostly because it's become the NBA's go-to punishment, whether or not it actually fits the crime.

There have just been so many out of the ordinary occurrences this season that the league has become baffled at just what to do, so the answer has been a one-game banning—time and again.

So let's take a look at just what it takes to get a one-game suspension in the league today and ponder on just how ridiculous it's become.

 

Confronting Referees

Three separate incidents with referees have ended in single-game suspensions for NBA players this season.

Among them, just one seems like it made sense, and that was Amir Johnson's freakout and subsequent mouthpiece-chucking earlier this season.

The next incident came as Bucks center Joel Przybilla was run from a game for "throwing" the ball at a referee. Did it deserve a suspension? Absolutely not.

It seemed more like Przybilla was simply giving the ball back to the referee, not chucking it at him. A technical foul should have been enough in this case.

Finally, Rajon Rondo was suspended just a few days ago for making contact with a referee.

It wasn't the first time Rondo was suspended for an incident with a referee, but this one legitimately seemed like it was without malice. This time it seemed as if Rondo was suspended mostly because he has a history of making trouble with referees, not because the incident itself was so questionable.

One thing we know for sure is that the league is going to protect referees, no matter what.

 

Postgame Confrontations

This is perhaps my favorite category, as the suspensions make no sense in relation to each other.

The first situation came when DeMarcus Cousins sought San Antonio Spurs' color commentator Sean Elliott. Cousins shouted at him a bit after San Antonio's postgame show and ended up with a one-game suspension for confronting Elliott in a hostile manner.

Most recently was Carmelo's stalking of Kevin Garnett, for which he was suspended a single game.

This is a situation where both players were suspended because it was so out of the ordinary.

Carmelo was banned for a game because you can't just go hunting down other players and shouting at their bus, while Cousins may have been spared suspension if he weren't DeMarcus Cousins.

 

Groin-Striking vs. Other Strikes

Twice this season has a player been suspended for striking another player in the gonads, and twice they've been banned for a single game.

The first such incident happened when DeMarcus Cousins (we've heard his name far too much already) took a low blow at O.J. Mayo while he was going for a rebound, giving him a one-game ban.

After Cousins popped Mayo in the boys, Dwyane Wade must have looked at it and saw it as a pretty good tactic.

In a game against the Charlotte Bobcats, Wade was fouled by Ramon Sessions bringing the ball up the court and he flailed his leg. The only problem is that he flailed his leg directly at Sessions' gonads, leading to a one-game suspension.

The strange thing is, Thomas Robinson earned himself a two-game suspension earlier this season for a similar situation, only he went high instead of low.

Robinson's suspension was the result of an elbow that connected with Jonas Jerebko's throat.

All three incidents were a result of unnecessary aggressiveness, with only Robinson getting the blunt of the blame for hitting higher.

To me it seems that Wade's hit is most egregious, as he's not only facing the player he's purposefully striking, but he is flopping in the process.

 

Arguing With Your Coach

There have been two instances of teams suspending players for arguing with their head coach.

The year started with Delonte West arguing with Rick Carlisle in the Dallas Mavericks' locker room. The Mavs suspended West for one game, before releasing him for good.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

A few months later, DeMarcus Cousins found himself in a similar situation. He found himself arguing with Keith Smart during halftime of a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Kings ended up suspending Cousins indefinitely, which amounted to a whopping one game here.

So teams seem pretty consistent here; if you're a player with a problematic past and you argue with your head coach, you're going to get suspended. Just make sure you're a young player with something to contribute, otherwise you might just get cut altogether.

 

The Standout

On October 30, the league took action against Matt Barnes, who had recently been arrested in Manhattan Beach for resisting arrest.

Of course, in the current NBA, this is also going to result in a suspension in all likelihood, which it did.

However, Barnes' public display of immaturity and trouble-making ended with him getting suspended for just one game—the same amount of time that Przybilla missed for rolling a ball to the referee or Cousins got for arguing with Keith Smart.

I guess that goes to show, if you're going to start trouble as an NBA player, it doesn't matter who you start it with—the punishment is going to be rather flat across the board.

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