The NBA is cracking down on flopping, and the league’s actions are getting some serious attention. They’ve sent a message to players without saying one word, but it’s still unclear how the new rules will be enforced.
NBA players have gotten away with flagrant flops on the offensive end of the court for the last several seasons. Jumping at opponents and making unnatural contact to draw fouls earned Stephen Curry, James Harden, Trae Young, and others a livelihood at the free throw line.
Those days, however, are no more.
This summer, the NBA enacted new regulations to combat the issue, and during the Golden State Warriors’ first preseason game of the year, the league delivered a strong message to flopping fans that it would no longer be allowed.
The NBA is finally taking action against flopping players.
During a game against the Phoenix Suns, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors speaks to referee Brian Forte | Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images
Many NBA fans have grown enraged in recent years by some of the foul calls given to offensive players by officials on a nightly basis.
Curry could get three free throws by leaning into a defender who is still standing in front of him and launching a 3-pointer into the air that hits nothing. Harden and Young were known for lunging at defenders on drives and flailing backwards to sell the call. The NBA has had enough with offense players instigating contact and being rewarded with unearned free throws.
The league established new regulations earlier this summer to put a stop to the chaos. The NBA will be clamping down on three particular offensive plays, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
- When a shooter launches or bends at an unusual angle into a defense.
- When a shooter kicks his leg at an unusual angle (up or to the side).
- When an attacking player veers off course (sideways or backward) and collides with a defender.
Referees, on the other hand, will not totally disregard these acts. They’re even encouraged to throw offensive fouls on athletes who lean or lunge towards a defender in an attempt to provoke contact.
The NBA has sent a strong message to Stephen Curry, James Harden, and their stumbling pals.
It’s one thing to make new rules for referees to follow during games, but it’s quite another to have them effectively enforced. The NBA is a fast-paced sport that involves contact on every play, and the new regulations are ambiguous and subjective.
However, we got a taste of how the NBA would handle these unusual shooting motions in the Warriors’ first preseason game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.
Curry moved back beyond the 3-point line during the game and used a pump fake to get his opponent up in the air. The All-Star point guard then pushed forward towards the opponent, drawing contact while launching a left-handed jumper that missed the hoop entirely. In previous years, this would have been referred to as a defensive shooting foul, and Curry would have been awarded three free throws. The whistles, though, were deafeningly quiet on Monday.
A shooter launching or leaning towards a defender at a “abnormal angle” is what Curry’s flop attempt qualifies as. It’s not a defensive foul, and the NBA demonstrated this week that it won’t be called as such.
For both players and referees, there is a learning curve.
After years of awarding free throws to players based on bogus shooting fouls, NBA officials may need some time to get used to the new regulations. After dubious decisions, there will still be uncertainty, confrontations between players and coaches, and spectators screaming through their television screens.
What’s more, guess what? The flipping isn’t likely to end any time soon. Officials are responsible for enforcing the new regulations properly and uniformly across the league.
Curry put the new regulations to the test in his first appearance on a basketball court since they were implemented, and he was forcefully rejected. Please, more of this.
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