The results are in: the NBA managed to cut down on flopping

Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you. (Getty Images)
Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you. (Getty Images)

If you feel like there’s been less flopping from NBA players this season, well, then it turns out you’ve been right.

Vlade Divac, in his return to the NBA, just can’t catch a break.

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As Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press discovered, the fines the NBA instituted back in 2012 appear to have gotten the message through to players that attempting to lure the league’s referees into a charge call is a no-no.

As if the year wasn’t already bad enough for Derek Fisher.

Here’s Reynolds:

Flopping — the art of exaggerated reactions designed to lure undeserved foul calls against an opponent — is not extinct, but the league's crackdown on it seems to have worked. After an average of 30 flops being flagged by the league office with either a warning or a fine in the last three regular seasons, there's been only eight so far this season.

And in February, there were none.

February even had 29 days in it this year!

If the league’s cameras catch a player in an obvious flop, even if the player isn’t rewarded with an undeserved whistle (or even if they take in the block call), a warning will result prior to a $5,000 fine. That fine doubles on the third infraction, then shoots up to $15,000 prior to doubling again. Nobody has ever made it to level five, because as Shane Battier correctly predicted in 2013 – the fines do mean something to even the millionaires.

Then-Pacer guard Lance Stephenson was hardly a millionaire when he became the first NBA player to be fined during the playoffs, and then fined again later on in Indiana’s Pacer run in 2014. That $10,000 took a solid chunk out of the pre-tax $1 million Stephenson was paid that season. As our Dan Devine pointed out back then, when added to the $55,000 Lance was fined by the league for his various regular season transgressions in 2013-14, he truly did need to mind his matters, lest he wanted to be forced to buy a pre-owned German automobile.

It’s good to see the NBA’s public relations move work out, and to these eyes referees (or, more specifically, those who review games) aren’t acting less diligently as they attempt to crack down on the maneuver, but it’s important to remember that this was a problem that the league itself created.

When it forced its referees to call just about every bit of interior contact in the late 1990s, it helped convince players that diving backward after any contact could earn that player’s team possession of the ball. After all, when you know there is going to be a whistle no matter what, why not take one for the team and bust out the acting chops? It’s a split-second call that no human can get correct all the time.

Toss in the fact that former player union leadership left its constituency rather toothless in the face of the NBA’s move to start penalizing the feints, and this all still leaves you feeling a little uneasy. Had the league just allowed the referees to call the game as they saw fit – even including, shock horror, no-calls!!! – the flop movement wouldn’t have grown, and the embarrassment of watching either Divac and Fisher or eventually fining Corey Brewer five grand for attempting to help his team wouldn’t have ever reared its ugly head. Even if it didn’t rear once in February.

The average NBA fan doesn’t care – “doesn’t matter dude, stop all the floppin’” – unless his own team’s player was the one that got away with one. We do concede that point.

Still, it appears the league has created an ingenious solution to problem that shouldn’t have had to exist in the first place.

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Kelly Dwyer

is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!