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The Chances of Receiving a Technical Foul in an NBA Game

When it comes to the fiercest athletes in sports, NBA players can easily take the top spot amongst the most competitive in the world. Regardless of if it’s the block of LeBron James that secured the championship or the flu game of Michael Jordan, these athletes tend to dig deep when it comes to the most important moments of the game. However, these moments often result in heated scenarios with many players losing their tempers and this is where things get technical.

Player expulsions and suspensions often take place because of technical fouls and this has been the go-to punishment for dangerous and inappropriate behavior. However, a change in rules that took place in 2006 now dictates that after 16 technical fouls, a player will be suspended for a game without being paid. Furthermore, two more added technical fouls will result in another game suspension. Let’s take a look at some of the unruliest NBA players that have competed in the last few decades.

Getting Technical


When it comes to technical fouls, Karl Malone, Utah Jazz legend, has a complete grip on fouls with a total of 332 fouls throughout his NBA career. Behind Karl Malone and Charles Barkley, you’ll find Rasheed Wallace with an unbelievable record of 317 fouls; however, he also has an unbeatable record of 41 technical fouls in a season. The reason for this record being unbeatable is that if an NBA player were to receive that number of fouls, the player with the offenses would be unable to play for at least 13 matches of the same season.

The records also contain a range of NBA Hall of Famers such as Dennis Rodman, Gary Payton, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Charles Barkley, and Kevin Garnett. Bearing in mind the quantity of great players that have made the list, perhaps a bit of spice in the competition is what’s needed, as it’s proven to be a positive thing for these players.

Boogie Fiend


DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins came up as the all-time leader in technical fouls that took place for each game that was played during the 2016-17 NBA season. But that’s not all, as Cousins became the first player to be handed an immediate one-game ban after receiving his 16th foul, which was given 26 days before the one that was handed to Dwight Howard, which was the previous record-holder. After Cousins transferred to Sacramento from New Orleans, his number of technical fouls remained the same; however, it did bring some tranquility to the court for his previous team.
Another player that managed to play with a lot of emotions is Draymond Green and despite his tainted past with flagrant and technical fouls, he does not appear to change his approach to the game. A clear indication of this is when he possibly cost the Golden State Warriors a tournament in 2016 due to exceeding the bounds for play-off foul points.

This resulted in him reserving a spot on the sidelines for Game 5 of the finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The reason for the popularity of this game is because it was the start of a historic comeback for the Cavaliers with the Warriors losing a 3-1 lead in the series.

The Untamed Pacific


The Warriors, Clippers, and the Suns managed to finish in the top 5 positions for technical fouls that were committed as a team, hence it’s not a shock that the Pacific conference is the leader of all regions. However, the margin which saw the Pacific end the season was by a huge margin. The following maximum division totalities had come from the Eastern conference, with the Celtics leading the number of technical fouls which was largely due to the 14 fouls of Isaiah Thomas.

The aforementioned rankings are a testament to the abilities of Gregg Popovich as one of the best coaches, as the San Antonio Spurs finished the season with the smallest number of technical fouls. This has resulted in the Southwest conference finishing with the second-lowest division total.

Bringing the Heat

With a new season starting, there might be hope that your preferred NBA players may be able to keep a handle on their moods. However, even if they don’t, history has dictated that it’s not the end of the world as technical fouls are by no means a threat to the legacies of teams or the careers of players.

The Procedure

To put together this project, we took a closer look at popular sports broadcasters such as sbnation.com and fadeawayworld.net to amass accurate statistics for each player. This includes the quantity of fouls that they had received over the course of their careers along with the technical fouls received in both the regular and postseason games. To provide a figure to calculate the chance of players receiving a technical foul, we divided the figure of technical fouls by the total number of games for the specific season.

Info Sources

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