The NBA is taking a strong stance against flopping this season with the introduction of new guidelines aimed at improving the quality of gameplay by giving penalty to players who try to deceive referees into making foul calls. This move is part of the league’s ongoing efforts to address unsportsmanlike behavior, building on previous measures designed to discourage non-basketball plays and excessive take fouls that disrupt the game’s flow. Discover NBA implements flopping penalty for 2023-24 season: fans call out LeBron, Embiid, and Harden.
In July, the competition committee adopted these guidelines, empowering referees to issue technical fouls for deceptive actions. This marks a departure from the previous anti-flopping program introduced in 2012 under then-commissioner David Stern, which relied mainly on postgame reviews and increasing fines but saw reduced enforcement after 2014.
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So, what exactly constitutes a flop? The new guidelines focus on penalizing “secondary, theatrical, and exaggerated movements” (STEM) to differentiate between genuine actions and flops. The objective is to address flopping without embarrassing players, as explained by Monty McCutchen, the NBA’s head of referee development and training. STEM actions include excessive flailing and unnecessary behaviors that could potentially lead to injuries. However, natural reactions to contact will not result in penalties.
Specific examples of potential flops involving players such as Marcus Smart, James Harden, Kyle Lowry, Rudy Gobert, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Patrick Beverley were highlighted.
No Player Ejections for Flopping Technicals
It’s important to note that flopping technicals will not lead to a player’s ejection, and coaches will not be able to challenge flop calls. Missed calls can result in retroactive fines starting at $2,000. The league believes that immediate penalties, such as awarding free throws, will act as a deterrent against flopping, drawing on the success of recent rule changes that reduced transition take fouls.
McCutchen stressed that the objective is not punitive but rather aimed at eliminating this aspect of the game, striving for a balanced approach that upholds the integrity of the competition.