Getting technical: Cousins suspension a bad sign in NBA conduct

In the NBA, technical fouls come about from ‘being extra’ on the court, whether it is due to a hard or unnecessary foul, an out-of-line verbal exchange or comment or simply doing something that does not benefit the natural play of the game.

For the former Sacramento King and current New Orleans Pelican center DeMarcus Cousins, his game is all about being extra and over the top. It has been very much apparent over his seven-year NBA career, receiving 101 technical fouls in that stretch, most among any player over that span.

Photo via NBA.com

In the Pelicans’ game on Sunday, Feb. 26, Cousins was assessed his 18th technical foul of the season when he got tangled up with Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams. Cousins will now have to serve his second suspension of the season for an excessive amount of technical fouls this year.

In total, Cousins has been assessed 20 technicals, while having two rescinded due to league investigation. Under NBA rules, a player is automatically suspended for one game without pay after receiving 16 technical fouls in one season. They face the same penalty for every second technical foul thereafter, according to ESPN.

Cousins may be the most notable player when it comes to those receiving an absurd amount of technical fouls, but he is not the only one who is racking up the Ts. There are seven NBA players who have been assessed double-digit technical fouls this season. The top 10 leaders in technical fouls assessed have a combined total of 120, an average of 12 per player within the top 10. In fact, 12 teams have fewer combined player technical fouls than Cousins alone.

The game has not gone soft, nor have the referees done their job incorrectly. But it cannot be ignored that the game has evolved into one that uses the whole floor, where players have the versatility to play two, three, even in some cases all five positions.

With that comes more opportunities to be exposed to the ball in different areas of the court and an additional amount of contact in the game, not to mention bigger off-the-court interactions than we’ve ever seen before in the league.

The league continues to take safety as the No. 1 priority in this game, and it should. While many think the refs are hurting the game and its cause, they are trying their best in making the right calls. Certain contact can be seen subjectively, but a lot of the unnecessary motions leading to technicals are almost always caught.

The game has not gone soft, nor have the referees not done their job. But it cannot be omitted that the game has not evolved, into one that uses the whole floor, where players have the versatility to play two, three, even in some cases all five positions.

With that comes more opportunities to be exposed to the ball in different areas of the court and with that comes an additional amount of contact, not to mention bigger off-the-court interactions than we’ve ever seen before in past seasons of the NBA.

No matter what happens anywhere else, players should just aim to play the right way, until the whistle is blown.

Matt Lamb is a broadcasting and visual media major from Howell, N.J. He can be reached at matthew.lamb@student.shu.edu or on Twitter @MattS_Lamb.

Author: Matt Lamb

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