Tuesday, January 25, 2022

How a strange jump ball situation led to a massive fine for the Kings and their assistant GM Wes Wilcox

We’ve seen a number of strange fines this season. Orlando Magic big man Wendell Carter Jr. lost $35,000 for throwing his goggles at an official, and Kyle Kuzma was dinged $15,000 for giving a fan the finger, just to name a few. Now, the Sacramento Kings and assistant GM Wes Wilcox have joined the list for their own bizarre incident.

On Thursday, the NBA announced that the Kings organization has been fined $50,000 and Wilcox has been fined $15,000 after Wilcox confronted personnel at the scorer’s table during the team’s recent win over the Miami Heat. League rules prohibit team owners and executives from interacting with the scorer’s table during game play. 

Early in the third quarter of that game, there was a jump ball with just 1.5 seconds left on the shot clock for the Heat. The tip was eventually corralled by Heat big man Omer Yurtseven, and he knocked down a mid-range jumper from the baseline. It appeared in real time, however, that the shot clock started late and he got more time than he should have. Kings played looked around in confusion, while head coach Alvin Gentry made his feelings known as well. 

During the next timeout, Wilcox went over to the table to complain. It’s not clear exactly what he did or said, since it wasn’t on the broadcast, but you obviously can’t have a team executive trying to influence the game in that way. The NBA agrees, which is why they came down hard with a hefty fine. 

Adding insult to (monetary) injury, Wilcox wasn’t even correct. The NBA rulebook states that “Following a jump ball or missed free throw, the shot clock shall start when new possession is obtained.” That’s different from an inbounds situation, where the clock starts when the ball is touched. 

On this play, Yurtseven bobbles the ball and it takes him a brief period of time to fully obtain possession. That’s why this play looks weird and the shot clock seems to start late. However, based on the rule book, the shot clock operators made the right decision. 

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