Flopping has been a hot topic of conversation during the NBA playoffs, in large part because of growing annoyance over the Los Angeles Clippers' tactics and Frank Vogel's fine-worthy comments on the Miami Heat. Although this sort of outcry happens often, it's loud enough at the moment to inspire several discussions of what the NBA can do to fix the problem.
However, before any meaningful change can happen, the commissioner must voice some concern. That's exactly what David Stern did during an interview with ESPN's Lisa Salters at Sunday's Heat/Pacers game. From ESPN.com:
"[Pacers coach Frank Vogel] didn't have a beef; he was just manipulating the refereeing or trying to," Stern said. "I would have fined him much more than our office did."
While Stern chastised Vogel for on Thursday calling the Heat "the biggest flopping team in the NBA," he did intimate that he sees merit in the sentiment.
"I think it's time to look at (flopping) in a more serious way," Stern said, "because it's only designed to fool the referee. It's not a legitimate play in my judgment. I recognize if there's contact (you) move a little bit, but some of this is acting. We should give out Oscars rather than MVP trophies." [...]
"Some years ago I told the competition committee that we were going to start fining people for flopping, and then suspending. And I think they almost threw me out of the room (saying), 'No, let it be.' "
It's notable that Stern would address this topic at all, but there's also something a little fishy about his insistence that it's not his fault the league hasn't done anything about flopping. As Barry Petchesky argued earlier Monday at Deadspin (some NSFW language in the headline and elsewhere), Stern has the power to advocate or push through policies he likes. If he really forced the idea of punishments for flopping onto the committee, they'd probably listen.
Nevertheless, Stern's point raises an interesting question: How exactly can you punish flopping when an effective flop blurs the line between intentional and unintentional falling? There is no easy answer, but we at BDL have concocted a few ideas:
1. Calling a technical foul on the flopper. Contrary to the reputation of foreign players as master floppers, this rule is already in effect in FIBA play.
2. As with technical fouls, a certain number of flops over the course of a season can warrant a one-game suspension.
3. In perhaps the simplest answer, flops can warrant a small fine.
4. NBA arenas will play a "Top 5 Flops of the Week" reel at every halftime.
5. The league's worst floppers will be forced to wear Kobe Bryant-like black masks as marks of shame.
Supply your own ideas in the comments. And feel free to get as creative as you like, because I'm not sure we'll see any of these rules take effect anytime soon.
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