Monday, May 14, 2012

NBA flopping enforcement: by Greg Gee with bharv

During last Sunday's Eastern Conference semifinal opener between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers, NBA Commissioner David Stern was asked, by sideline Reporter Lisa Salters, on what he thought about Pacers coach Frank Vogel calling out the Miami Heat for their tendency to flop.

The flop: 
The "flop" is, of course, a somewhat subjective issue. It really boils down to a player in the NBA absorbing a small or moderate amount of physical contact and then having a reaction that would suggest the physical contact is far more intense and had far more impact than it really did. All of this is done in an effort to draw a foul. source

Stern accused Vogel of just trying to manipulate the refs but went on to say:

"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. source

Coaches love players who can step in and take a charge because it's usually a sign of them hustling. Also, one has to be tough to get in front of, say a 200 pounder barreling down at you. Conversely, flopping is the cowards way of defending. However, I believe flopping (acting) is a part of the game and NBA officials do not need a new rule to help them judge it -- they have an old rule, it's called  "A NO CALL".

NBA officials scrutinize game film -- similar to coaches and players --  in order to be better at their profession. Via film, NBA officials learn players' habits, styles and tendencies. There is enough game film out there to help officials separate good defenders from notorious floppers; and identify the tell tale signs flopping-- thank goodness.

For example, Metta World Peace -- once known as Ron Attest -- is a physical, tough player who is respected by his peers as one of the best defenders in the league. Granted, Mr. World Peace, from time-to-time, commits "bonehead" deeds but I give tons of credit to NBA officials for not penalizing his defensive play.

NBA players that have been identified as floppers

A large percent of the floppers are foreign born players (blame soccer?):

Some players flop enough, in fact, that they've gained reputations as the league's top floppers. So, not surprisingly, when Sports Illustrated ran an informal player poll asking for the NBA's biggest floppers, the results rounded up the usual suspects. From (via PBT), the top 10 (of 15), in order:
Some observers argue that an influx of foreign players steeped in the culture of soccer have made flopping a legitimate tactic in the NBA, but it's interesting to note that, apart from the top three, this list isn't exactly full of foreign players -- in addition to No. 15 Sasha Vujacic(notes), six of the 15 players are foreign-born, and Barea may not count because he is from Puerto Rico and honed his craft over four years of NCAA ball at Northeastern. (Oh, and flopping is just as bemoaned by the foreign soccer press as it is in the NBA.) So, blame Europeans if you want, but it's not as if Derek Fisher learned how to flop his way to charge calls just because he saw Varejao do it once in 2005. Source
Flopping is bothersome, but no new rule is necessary:

Please show me an NBA game where flopping dominated the referees whistle to the point that the flopping team won championship? Yeah, refs sometimes rule in favor of  a flopper, but I guarentee that any ref who calls a large percentage of flopping fouls will not be an NBA official for long.

This call " let's do something to stop flopping" is just sensationalism by media (print and talking heads). NBA officials:  just keep watching film.

1 comment:

  1. Good article and I appreciate your perspective. However, as the Stern said himself, flopping is a form of cheating. Saying that, I think the NBA should be pro-active and not wait for a flop call -- made in the heat of battle (playoff battle) to falsely determine a game outcome.

    If film shows you are a flopper (cheater) I think you should receive first a warning, second a Tee -- retroactively served, third a fine and finally for repeat offenders, a suspension...

    Soccer is looking to institute the same -- flopping brings down the integrity of the game. It cheapens the product.