NBA approves new flopping rule with technical, keeping challenge if first right for next season.

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NBA referees will have a new rule to punish flopping next season, and NBA coaches will get a second challenge if they get the first one right.

Those two rule changes — both tested out in Las Vegas at the NBA Summer League — were approved Tuesday by the NBA’s board of governors and will go into effect next season.

The challenge rule is straightforward and overdue — if a coach gets his first challenge correct, he retains it and can make a second challenge later. The one thing of note is that the coach must have a timeout left to use that second challenge (just like the first one), but this has been needed. If a coach correctly challenges a missed call in the second quarter, they should be able to challenge a controversial call late in the game.

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The new flopping regulation will draw a lot of praise from fans when they hear it, but the execution could lead to another round of headaches for the league.

The new flopping rule says that if a referee calls a player for flopping, he is given a non-unsportsmanlike technical (which doesn’t count as a personal foul or toward an ejection), and the opposing team gets one free throw and the ball. The league defines a flop as “a physical act that reasonably appears to be intended to cause the officials to call a foul on another player.” The league also will increase its reviews looking for flopping when watching video after the game, and if a player is found to have flopped they will be fined $2,000 (players called for flopping during the game will not be fined, the on-court penalties are it).

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The list of things that can go wrong with this start with the first flopping call at Summer League — a player was elbowed in the face and got called for a flop.

The referees the league is asking to make the flopping calls are the ones sometimes fooled by flopping in the first place — they will miss calls.

The bigger challenge is the best floppers — Marcus Smart is at the head of this class — embellish and exaggerate existing contact. There is always something there. These are not going to be “No way Trae Young just knocked over Joel Embiid” obvious flops, it will be someone selling existing contact to draw a foul. In real time, without a review, referees will have to be sure it was a flop, not genuine contact and a foul. Meaning fans at home are going to be screaming for what they see as an obvious flop call that was not so obvious at game speed, and depending on the angle of the official to the play.

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Something must be done to reduce flopping in the NBA, but don’t expect this to be a panacea.

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