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Dallas Mavericks’ bench nonsense sparks rule change

The new “Theo Pinson rule” cracks down on the sideline chicanery that Dallas used throughout the playoffs. Jason Kidd, you’re on notice!

2022 NBA Playoffs - Dallas Mavericks v Phoenix Suns
Theo Pinson doing what he does best - standing near the bench in street clothes.
Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

During the playoffs last season, the Dallas Mavericks drew $175,000 in fines due to the antics of their bench squad, specifically reserve guard Theo Pinson. Now, the NBA made a brand-new rule about “bench decorum” that punishes infractions more severely, and makes guys who are not playing sit down already.

Some of the new “points of emphasis” feel like common sense. No, bench players and assistant coaches shouldn’t be standing up and yelling at opposing players when they take a three-pointer near the sidelines. No, players shouldn’t be walking onto the court during live play. And no, Theo Pinson shouldn’t dress in the opposing team’s colors and stand directly next to the court calling for the ball.

That play drew a $100,000 fine for the Mavericks, after they’d previously been docked $25,000 and $50,000 for earlier infractions. Even after the fine, Pinson refused to change his Warriors-colored shirt before the next game, even after an official offered to buy one for him

The NBA is going to issue warnings about excessive standing, and if the problem continues, they’ll assess technical fouls. It doesn’t work to threaten a guy like Theo Pinson with a suspension - he’s not playing anyway! Standing isn’t only a distraction for the opposing team; it sucks for the fans who have their view obstructed by some benchwarmer or assistant coach all game. Thankfully for Kent Bazemore, the NBA made it clear that bench players can celebrate - just not for a prolonged amount of time.

Coach Jason Kidd pretended not to know why Dallas was fined $50K after their Game Seven win against Phoenix, but the NBA made it pretty clear: The coaches and bench players kept standing up and walking onto the court.

It’s also ridiculous for Jason Kidd to pretend he doesn’t know the rules of bench decorum, when he famously exploited that as a player, when he intentionally collided with Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson in 2009. Woodson was encroaching on the court, so Kidd slammed into him to draw a game-changing technical foul.

The NBA fined Kidd $50K in 2004, when as coach of the Brooklyn Nets, he intentionally spilled his soda all over the sidelines, in order to get a stoppage of play with the team out of timeouts. You can see him say “Hit me” to Tyshawn Taylor before Kidd exaggerates contact like an Argentinian football player, and his beverage goes everywhere.

The NBA is also cracking down on overly demonstrative complaints about fouls, including players clapping their hands, running, and generally showing up officials. You know, Draymond stuff. But the main takeaway is that no matter how the NBA modifies the rules, Jason Kidd will find a way to cheat.

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