May 29, 2008
The NBA announced yesterday that fines will be imposed on players starting next season for clear cases of "flopping." (So much for that Manu-Varejao commercial.) Here's what they're saying out in the ether about the as-yet-undetermined system of floppin' fines.
Supersonicsoul: "Flopping is not basketball. Nobody flops in pick-up basketball, because it is the antithesis of competition. Competing means pushing back, not falling down. Competing means focusing your efforts on defeating your man, not playing to an official. And yet the NBA has allowed this spectacle to rob the game of its excitement. [...] It's a disgusting practice, and it has had the same affect on the game as the European introduction of smallpox to Native Americans. Sure, flopping existing before the Euros came over, but it reached new heights under the teachings of Professor Vlade Divac and his bizarrely bearded disciples. Kudos to the NBA for making an effort to put an end to this. If they do nothing else right this off-season, I'll applaud them for this."
Red's Army: "... the NBA just screwed itself. There will be a scenario where a guy will egregiously flop … but draw a foul. What does the NBA do? Does it fine a guy for the flop and make the refs look bad for calling a foul on that play? Or does the NBA look bad by not fining a guy BECAUSE the ref fell for it and called a foul on the play?"
Brian Windhorst: "When there were first rumors of this sort of action last year I asked Andy [Varejao] about it. He pretty much shrugged and told me that it is easier to get a charge called in the NBA than any other league in the world because of the no-charge zone. “Easier to get charges because of the no-charge zone?” I repeated. “Yes, because if you set up outside of it and there is contact the officials have to make the call. In international games, they can let it go. The line makes them blow the whistle,” Andy told me. And, you know what, he’s right. So these fines may not be great news for Andy, but I suspect it won’t change the way he plays the game at all."
The Arena: "Don’t expect it to make much difference. Flopping is currently a player’s best ploy to gain a competitive advantage within the game from the officiating. While it’s certainly not illegal, it’s been roundly criticized, and floppers earn much derision from observers. And yet, everybody does it. You know what that reminds me of? A little scandal called Spygate."
We Suck At Sports: "... as a Cavs fan I'm obviously more a fan of Varejao because he enrages other players into retaliation. But the truth is, this kind of acting takes away from the game itself, because it's not a basketball play, it's taking advantage of an ill-constructed rule. A very similar advantage is taken of the Hack-a-Shaq concept, where the strategy works, but it has nothing to do with basketball itself. If Anderson was on any other team, I would hate him just like everybody else. It's a great rule, and the best part of it is the fact that in-game referees will not be responsible for this call. It's much easier to see flopping on tape, and not split-second judgment calls. As it stands, it looks like there'll be a massive drop-off in international players influx into the NBA."
The Commission: "Obviously something needs to be done about the incessant flopping. But fines? Is that kosher? How about two shots and the ball? That seems more reasonable. Fining just seems kind of silly, cause it's done after the game. I don't know that that will really curtail flopping, when it's a subjective punishment to be administered at a later date."
Hardwood Paroxysm: "A team like San Antonio, who runs a tight ship, with cost effective payrolls and teaches flopping as sound defensive technique, is totally, utterly screwed. How can all those guys on those small salaries get by getting fined two and three (or in Parker's case — 142) times a night just for using proper defensive technique? Answer: they won't. So now, either teams are going to have to actually attempt to play defense or they are going to get some serious kicks to the morale and the wallet."
The Sporting Blog: "It's hard to not get excited about anything that might cut down on phony fouls, whether on offense or defense. That might be worth sacrificing a few minutes per game, even if these things are harder to get away with down the stretch, when it really matters. Jeff Van Gundy is right: The last few minutes are usually officiated differently, which is how it should be. But flopping shouldn't just be ignored late in games — it should be punished, since it really is a scourge unto the game. Worse than the slam dunk."
Bonus: The Jones also weigh in on this on today's 'cast.