Jeff Pendergraph of the Pacers has become the first player to be fined for a flop in the playoffs, thanks to his falling down while defending Josh Smith during Game 5 of Indiana’s first round series against the Hawks.
There are no more warnings for flopping in the postseason, remember, and any offense is immediately issued a fine of $5,000, which will escalate with each subsequent infraction.
While this is clearly a flop, these aren’t the plays that need to be punished.
The referees weren’t fooled into whistling Smith for a foul on the play, and Smith scored easily once Pendergraph took himself out.
What the league needs to focus on are plays where a flop influences the official into making an incorrect foul call, or ones that are at a level so ridiculous that they become an embarrassment to the sport.
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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.