Rudy Gobert: If Draymond Green 'Knew How to Choke,' It Could've Been 'Way Worse'

Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert opened up about his altercation with Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green following the T-Wolves' 104-101 victory on the road on Tuesday. The incident occurred less than two minutes into the game when Warriors wing Klay Thompson and Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels became entangled and refused to disengage. This led to a brawl, with Green putting Gobert in a chokehold from behind. Eventually, Green, Thompson, and McDaniels were all ejected from the game.

Expressing his perspective on the altercation, Gobert told The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski and Sam Amick that Green's intention seemed to be to harm him further. He stated, "It was a long time, and if he knew how to choke, it could have been way worse. His intention was to take me out." Despite the incident, Gobert managed to contribute 35 minutes to the game, recording nine points on 2-of-8 shooting, while also grabbing 13 rebounds, blocking three shots, and dishing out two assists.

While Gobert criticized Green for his behavior, referring to it as "clownish," he clarified that he never felt truly threatened. Gobert stated, "The chokehold wasn't effective enough. Yeah, it wasn't sufficient for me to feel in danger of losing consciousness. But he certainly tried. He tried really hard, but it didn't reach a level where I felt like I was genuinely at risk of falling asleep or anything like that."

For Green, this marked the second consecutive game in which he was ejected, having been thrown out of Saturday's match against the Cleveland Cavaliers due to receiving two technical fouls. In addition to the back-to-back ejections, Green could potentially face further disciplinary measures. The NBA is currently investigating the events of Tuesday's game, with plans to conclude its review before the Warriors' matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, as reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

According to ESPN's Kendra Andrews, Gobert voiced his belief that Green's actions were influenced by the absence of Warriors star guard Stephen Curry, who missed the game due to knee soreness. Gobert speculated, "Every time Steph doesn't play, [Green] doesn't want to play without his guy Steph, so he does anything he can to get ejected."

Regardless of the underlying reasons for the altercation, the Warriors found themselves without their three core players for the majority of Tuesday's game. Curry's absence, coupled with the ejections of Green and Thompson, left the team searching for answers. Curry, Green, and Thompson were instrumental in the Warriors' four championship victories from 2015 to 2022.

After winning the NBA title in 2022, the Warriors experienced a slump last season, finishing with a 44-38 record and getting eliminated in the second round of the playoffs. This season, they have had an inconsistent start, currently holding the eighth position in the Western Conference with a 6-6 record.

In contrast, the Timberwolves, who secured the final playoff spot as the eighth seed last season, have emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference this year, sitting with the second-best record at 8-2.