06 July, 2023
This summer, the NBA is experimenting with giving technical fouls for miscues.
The initial one touched down quickly. Jaden Shackelford of the Oklahoma City Thunder earned the distinction of being the first player to receive a technical penalty from an NBA official for fumbling. At least the Summer League was included.
Shackelford, a second-year guard out of Alabama, committed to Oklahoma City last season on an Exhibit 10 contract. He was a member of the Oklahoma City Blue G League squad for the organization and is currently a member of the Thunder Summer League squad.
In a game against the Memphis Grizzlies Summer League team on Wednesday in Salt Lake City, he exaggerated contact. Or so the authorities decided. On a drive to the basket with 4:49 left in the second quarter, Grizzlies forward Jake LaRavia made contact with Shackelford’s head with his right arm. Shackelford immediately retreated and staggered backward after making contact.
It irked Dannica Mosher, who objected. Shackelford was given a technical foul after the referee whistled. The Memphis lead was later increased to 54-38 by a technical free throw made by Jacob Gilyard.
Was it a wise decision? LaRavia looks to have made contact with Shackelford’s face, according to the replay. In an apparent attempt to secure a call, Shackelford then appeared to try to sell the contact. The NBA’s new flopping rule, which for the first time mandates in-game enforcement of flopping offences, aims to stop that kind of conduct.
Flop: According to the NBA, this is “an attempt to either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call by exaggerating the effect of contact with an opposing player.”
A previously ineffective system of escalating fines for flops applied to players. They will now receive technical fouls for infractions. The method is now being tested in Summer League, and owners will reportedly decide on its permanent implementation during their meeting on July 11th.
The specific type of call that highlights the problem with enforcement is the technical on Shackelford from last Wednesday. According to the league’s guidelines for a flop, Shackelford did indeed appear to make an effort to exaggerate “the effect of contact with an opposing player.” The contact appeared authentic at the same time, and if it was, officials failed to notice it.
Although the new regulation makes a commendable effort to prevent flopping, it does not improve referees’ accuracy in making accurate block/charge calls.