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What happens when an NBA player gets a technical foul?

Like all sports, Basketball has rules that don’t directly affect the fan experience. An example of this is a player getting a technical foul. You know the ref blew the whistle, you know a penalty of some kind was assigned. The details of which may vary from FIBA games, NBA and NCAA.

What happens when an NBA player gets a technical foul? The most immediate effect of an NBA player getting a technical foul is that a free throw is awarded. The player assessed with the technical will have this recorded, adding to his personal foul count. Possession will be awarded to the team who had possession of the ball when the technical foul was assessed. If this was the second technical foul the player had committed in that game they would be ejected from play. The offending player will then be awarded a monetary fine. The technical foul will be added to the players running technical foul count for the season.

The above is the most simple version of what happens when a technical foul is assessed in the NBA. Below we break down the nuances and some interesting rules that govern the NBA’s technical foul process.

What is a technical foul?

 In the NBA rule book a technical foul is defined as the following:

An official may assess a technical foul, without prior warning, at any time.  A technical foul(s) may be assessed to any player on the court or anyone seated on the bench for conduct which, in the opinion of an official, is detrimental to the game. The technical foul must be charged to an individual. A technical foul cannot be assessed for physical contact when the ball is alive.

There are many exceptions and rules governing this. The main point of a technical thought is to give the officials power to penalize players, teams and coaches for offenses that happen away from play. They should not be confused with flagrant fouls, these are called for unnecessary or dangerous contact that happens during live ball situations.

How many shots do you get for a technical foul in the NBA?

In the NBA you get 1 shot for each technical foul assessed. If a double technical foul is assessed or multiple technical fouls are called on both teams during the same interruption in play, they cancel each other out. With the difference being awarded to 1 team in free throws. So if the home team gets assessed for 3 technicals and the road team just 2, then the road team will shoot 1 free throw, worth 1 point.

Who gets possession after a Technical foul is called?

When a technical foul is assessed, after the free throw has been taken, possession of the ball remains with the team that had possession of the ball before the technical was assessed.

How many technical fouls before a suspension?

In the NBA racking up technicals can prove a costly business, it can also get you suspended from matches. An NBA player faces a 1 game suspension after their 16th regular season technical foul. They would then be suspended for 1 game every 2 technical fouls they rack up above that. In the NBA Playoffs suspension occurs after 7 technical fouls and then an extra game for each 2 technical fouls they collect after that.

What happens when an NBA player gets 16 technical fouls?

When an NBA player gets 16 technical fouls in the regular season they receive a $5,000 fine and a 1 game suspension. This 1 game suspension will almost always cost them a portion of their pay for the value of that game. In the Playoffs this number is just 7.

Do NBA technical foul counts carry over to the playoffs?

No, technical foul counts reset when the Playoffs start. If a player is going to be suspended for racking up too many technicals during the playoffs they would need to get 7 starting from the first game of the playoffs. Draymond Green was famously suspended from game 5 of the 2016 NBA finals for racking up his 7th technical foul for hitting Lebron James in the testicals.

Do coaches have to sit after a technical foul?

This is a common misconception, as coaches will most likely get a technical foul for getting up in the face of one of the officials, or maybe opposing players or coaches. After receiving the technical, fans will see the coach sitting glumly in their seat, as if banished like a naughty child. This is in fact not a rule, but more self preservation! Like a player, if a coach receives 2 technicals they have to leave the game. With just a single technical they can continue on exactly as they are… although hopefully more reserved and less likely to attract that second and be tossed!

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