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NBA approves anti-flopping, second coach’s challenge rules

Offenders will be issued a non-unsportsmanlike technical foul, and opponents will be awarded a technical free throw.

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Four Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The NBA Board of Governors has approved two new rules with implementation beginning in the 2023-24 season, the league announced Tuesday evening.

The first establishes an anti-flopping measure, implementing an in-game penalty for flops resulting in a technical foul free throw for opponents. The consequence to the offender is being assessed a non-unsportsmanlike technical foul, but players will not be ejected for any amount of flopping offenses. Flop calls also do not have to interrupt live play, but can be called on the next neutral opportunity.

Suppose the Boston Celtics saw this kind of thing coming and moved Marcus Smart immediately.

(Okay, I know. Someone could just as easily make that joke about the Sixers, who currently employ both Joel Embiid and James Harden. Glass houses, stones, all that.)

All jokes aside, this is something the league needed — fans of any team or players can likely agree there to at least an extent. Embellishment has run rampant and unpunished throughout the league, long encouraging the dramatization of the effects of contact to attempt to draw fouls.

Not everyone is thrilled with the change right out of the gate, however. Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox took to Twitter shortly after the rule additions were announced.

It’s frankly fair that players might be hesitant to embrace the new rule: it’s arguably the most subjective rule on the books now, and it does give officials a new level of power in drawing the line between a flop and genuine reactions to contact. One can only imagine that statheads will be watching closely for patterns to form in officials’ calls on specific players and teams.

The second rule to be implemented starting this season is the addition of a second coaches’ challenge if the first is successful.

Probably a lot less controversy and negative feedback to follow on this one. Personally, it never made much sense to me that the coach was punished for winning a challenge by losing their opportunity to do it again. This led to way too many instances of coaches (looking at you, Doc Rivers) not challenging obvious errors in fear that they would need their single challenge for a more impactful moment of the game.

Nevertheless, the new rules will go in the books with the start of the new season.

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