Early returns show technical fouls rising

Everyone still hates the new “Respect for the Game” technical foul guidelines even though it could be a good idea, right?

The idea is to cut down on complaining and give the game a much better aura. We want to see guys playing, and not see guys screaming at referees for stuff that probably didn’t happen the way they think it did.

Let’s review the new guidelines for potential infractions (from this TrueHoop post):

  • Aggressive gestures, such as air punches, anywhere on the court.

  • Demonstrative disagreement, such as when a player incredulously raises his hands, or smacks his own arm to demonstrate how he was fouled.

  • Running directly at an official to complain about a call.

  • Excessive inquiries about a call, even in a civilized tone.

Body language and general overt attitude toward disagreeing with calls are also acts of disrespect for the game. You can’t even really walk across the court to go discuss something with an official (unless you pull the ole “did you happen to notice a missing headband, by the way there is no way I was in the restricted area” trick).

In the majority of the games I’ve watched the feel of the game seems a bit better to me with, but the technical fouls have been piling up. Check out the numbers from Peter D. Newmann, ESPN’s NBA Statistics and Research Editor:

That is QUITE the jump in technical fouls.

To clarify, these do include defensive 3-second violations, which result in automatic technical fouls. However, if those defensive techs were even close to the manner in which they were called in the Orlando-Miami game on Friday, that is still a significant rise in the first week of the season’s technical foul calls.

I would imagine/hope the frequency of technical fouls called in games will go down throughout the season as referees ease up on the trend or players adjust to the new rules (or ideally, both).

For now, players will just have to pretend to be looking for their car keys when they walk over to an official or bite their tongue and do a meditative exercise to calm themselves.