Already two NBA players — J.J. Barea and Donald Sloan — have gotten warnings about flopping. Do it again and they get fined, although the real goal of the new NBA flopping rules is make it kind of a public embarrassment that has players hesitating to make a grandiose gesture to sell a foul.
But the big question has long been — will it really matter at a key point in a game? Or the playoffs? It’s one thing not to sell a call in the second quarter of an early November night, it’s something else entirely in the fourth quarter of a close playoff game. Will it still have an impact?
Stan Van Gundy — the former Magic coach and current partner of NBC Sports Radio and the NBC Sports Network — told Sports Illustrated he doesn’t think so.
“I think the attempt to try to address it is a good thing but I don’t see the rule having much effect,” said Van Gundy, the former Magic coach who is transitioning this season to broadcasting with NBC …. “First of all, I think the only ones that you will see penalized are very, very egregious flops. I’d be surprise if it even got to one a game, and I think anybody who watches basketball knows that there is far more than one every game.
“And I don’t even think this is the NBA’s fault. I just think it’s impossible the way the rule is written where they can ‘crack down’ on it. I think they will make sort of a cursory attempt, and make it look like they are trying to do something about it.”
When you look at what Sloan and Barea got called out for, they were both pretty over the top. Sloan’s in particular. And Van Gundy is right, that will be the trend.
But the question of impacts, the question of if this rule changes things late in the season and into the playoffs when not just hard-core fans are watching remains to be answered.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.