Two new rules plus a few other notable additions are coming to the NBA.
As is the case every offseason, the NBA Board of Governors voted on a number of rule changes and issues, and two new rules come into force for the 2023–24 season is an expansion of the Coach’s Challenge and the addition of in-game flop penalties. We’ll take a look at those, followed by some other changes coming to the NBA.
Coaches Challenge expansion
The Coach’s Challenge was a welcome addition to the NBA a few years ago. It gave a coach the right to challenge most (but not all) types of calls if they felt it was wrong. It still had its quirks, such as initial out-of-bounds call could not be challenged in the final two minutes because the referees could already review it on their own. However, in an effort to improve game flow, in 2021 the NBA eliminated referee-initiated replay review for off-court violations during the final two minutes, allowing coaches to challenge off-court calls in the final two minutes.
Of course, the downside was that the coaches were now reluctant to use their Challenge outside of the final two minutes, and while there is the old adage that a game-changing play that cannot be overcome never happens until the fourth quarter, they can cause huge momentum swings and change the course of the game, creating “what ifs” after the fact.
As a result, the league finally approved something everyone has been clamoring for: if a coach has a successful challenge at any point in the game, he will be rewarded with another challenge for future use.
Obviously, if the first challenge fails, the coach loses the challenge along with the timeout and does not get another. As mentioned above, the timeout used for the first challenge is still lost, even if it is successful, and the coach must still have a timeout available to use his second challenge. Overall, this is a welcome addition to the league and should help eliminate shocking bad calls earlier in the game that could have glaring consequences later (such as a key player getting into foul trouble early and having to sit on a bad call).
Flopping penalties in the game
The second rule change is the addition of a flop penalty in the game. It’s pretty straightforward: If the refs decided a player flopped (ie faked or exaggerated marginal contact to trick the refs into calling a foul), they can call a technical on that player and the other team is awarded a free throw. Officials can also wait for the dead ball to call instead of stopping play for a flop.
One thing to note is that a flop call cannot be reviewed using the Coach’s Challenge, but an umpire can call it if it is noted during a review for other actions (eg if a coach challenges a foul call and the umpires decide “the victim” ” flopped). Both of these rules have already been tested in the Summer League.
Tournament in season
In addition to the rule changes, the NBA has also approved the addition of a Euro-style season tournament, where teams will be divided into six teams within the conference and will complete regular season games in November for the right to get to the “playoffs” of the tournament in December. To learn more about that and where Spurs 2023-24 are placed, click here.
Eligibility for awards
With player management becoming a new norm, the players and board approved a rule requiring players to appear in 65 regular season games to be eligible for NBA awards (MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, etc.) and All – NBA teams. Also, the two guards/two forwards/one center format has been eliminated for NBA and All-Defense teams. They are now positionless and will simply be rewarded to top 15 players regardless of position.
Potential NBA expansion
Last is not something that has been approved yet, but it has become mentioned several times by commissioner Adam Silver this summer: potential NBA expansion. Here’s what he had to say on Monday in an interview on Las Vegas Summer League:
“We will turn to expansion when the new media agreements are completed. It is not certain, but as I have said before, I think it is natural for organizations to grow over time.”
“We’ll look at (Vegas). There’s no doubt there’s tremendous interest in Seattle. It’s not a secret. There are other markets that have shown interest. For the people who hear or read about this interview , we’re not involved in that process now. We’re not meeting right now with any potential groups. What we’re saying to everybody, privately is the same as I’m saying publicly, that there will be a very open process already at that point to consider expansion. But not yet. Not now.”
As Silver noted, now is not the time to seriously discuss expansion with potential participants, but the time to see will be 2025, when the NBA’s current media rights are up.