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New NBA Rules – Flopping Penalty

The NBA has introduced some new rules for the 2023-2024 basketball season. Some of the rules were related to the player participation policy. Other policy changes affected the coaches who can now challenge goaltending and out of bounds plays which were previously not in scope. Another change was the in-season tournament that was played in the middle of the season with a final four that had a Final Four in December.

One of the interesting changes that has highly been debated is the implementation of the Flopping Penalty. If a player is deemed to be flopping, they will receive a warning. If they do it again then they will receive a technical foul. The intent of the flopping penalty is to deter players from this behavior and promote a more fair playing environment. Others argue that if there is less flopping during a game then that would improve the game flow with less stoppages due to foul calls. While that is a benefit to the viewer for a better viewing experience, it also has benefits to the players. Players will have to sharpen their skills and not solely rely on drawing fouls that are not actual fouls! Flopping also sends the wrong message and impression to viewers and young players that it is an acceptable behavior when it isn’t.

Perhaps one of the biggest criticisms against the flopping penalty is that it is really subjective and judgement by referees can lead to inconsistent calls. This alone will lead to frustration of players, coaches and fans alike. Additionally, if the focus and emphasis is the flopping penalty so much it may detract from other unsportsmanlike behaviors. Others cite that the actual penalty of non-unsportsmanlike technical foul may not be a strong enough penalty to deter players, especially superstars from flopping.

Like with any new rule, evaluation of its effectiveness will take sometime. There isn’t even enough data yet to definitively say who has received it the most and what impact that may have had on that team etc let alone to evaluate its effectiveness across the league. However, in the first few weeks of the season, there were several high-profile calls, but the enforcement seems to have become less frequent recently. Additionally the NBA doesn’t officially track flopping penalties separately from other technical fouls, making it difficult to compile specific statistics.

It will ultimately be interesting to see how the NBA evaluates if this new flopping penalty is here to stay. In the meantime enjoy screaming at your TV every time a flopping penalty is called and debate if it really was warranted.

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