Mark Cuban is funding a study on flopping

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The league’s anti-flopping policy that was put into place this season hasn’t exactly done a whole lot to curb the embarrassing effort of some players to exaggerate or invent contact to try to garner a favorable (if incorrect) foul call from the officials.

David Stern said as much in addressing the media before the start of the NBA Finals, while also mentioning that fines or other penalties might have to be increased for them to truly act as a deterrent to this particular type of conduct exhibited by a percentage of the players.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is taking it a step further, and he’s putting his money where his mouth is.

From ESPN Dallas:

One of Cuban’s companies has provided $100,000 to Southern Methodist University for an 18-month investigation of the forces involved in basketball collisions and try to figure out if video or other motion capture techniques can identify legitimate collisions and instances of flopping.

“The research findings could conceivably contribute to video reviews of flopping and the subsequent assignment of fines,” SMU biomechanics expert Peter G. Weyand, who leads the research team, said in a statement.

Cuban tweeted: “Is it a flop? Let the scientists figure it out . im paying for the research to find out.”

This is where it gets interesting.

While many of the flops we see on a nightly basis during the regular season are obvious, there are others that are not. Specifically, when defensive players hit the deck on a block/charge call, it isn’t always discernable whether or not they were hit with enough force that would actually cause them to be knocked off of their feet. When it’s a smaller player defending a larger one in these situations, it’s even easier for the defender to exaggerate the contact to the point where the referees would buy it simply based on the size of each.

We’ll have to wait and see whether the study bears meaningful results, or if there comes a day when technology can tell us with any certainty whether or not a player is truly hit on a play where the contact is clearly exaggerated.

Short of science helping us out, the best way to put a stop to it for good would be to escalate penalties all the way up to a suspension for the offensive behavior — and that’s not somewhere the league is willing to go just yet.

“We could end it immediately if we decided to suspend players,” Stern said. “But that might be a little Draconian at the moment.”

Report: First-round draft prospect says Phil Jackson fell asleep during his workout

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
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Like I said, there are better reasons to criticize Phil Jackson than him saying his priority was the Knicks and that he had discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis.

Jay Williams of ESPN:

A top-15 draft pick told me the other day, because we were involved in this out of this conversation about Phil Jackson and the Knicks, and he said, “Phil Jackson was falling in and out of sleep in my workout.”

Yes. “Falling in and out of sleep at my workout.” This is what this guy told me.

Especially given Jackson’s salary and reputation for not being a diligent worker, this story is too good to check out.

O.G. Anunoby invited to NBA draft, Harry Giles declines

AP Photo/Darron Cummings
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The NBA’s invitations to the draft are a good indicator of when players will get drafted. The league samples executives, who are more likely to be honest here than in leaks to the media, about how they rank players. So, the list is worth monitoring.

The players who will attend tonight’s draft nearly match the leaks – with one exception. O.G. Anunoby is going, and Harry Giles isn’t.

Here are the players who will be at the draft – a reasonable placeholder for the players most likely to get picked in the top 20 – via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England:

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress:

Harry Giles declined his invite sources told DraftExpress.

Did Giles decline his invite because, with his extensive injury history, he feared falling too far? Or did he just prefer to watch elsewhere?

Was Anunoby simply 21st on the NBA’s list of players to invite? Or was the league too unsure of his medical status to include him until getting a stronger grasp now?

I don’t know, but the possibility that Giles could slip or Anunoby is more secure alters my perception of their draft stock (Anunoby up, Giles down).

Report: Knicks’ asking price for Kristaps Porzingis ‘massive’

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What has Phil Jackson actually done? He discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis with other teams and called the Knicks, not Porzingis, his priority. That’s it.

At face value, this is fine. It’s what devoted executives, not always Jackson, should do.

Jackson hasn’t traded Porzingis for meager return. He hasn’t traded Porzingis at all.

Everyone up in arms should take a deep breath.

Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

I wouldn’t rule out the Knicks trading Porzingis. The No. 1 pick got traded, after all. I wouldn’t rule out them trading Porzingis for too little return. Look at Jackson’s track record running the front office.

But wait until they do before bashing Jackson for not understanding Porzingis’ value.

There are plenty of better reasons to criticize Jackson, including overseeing the toxic culture that led to Porzingis skipping his exit interview and setting this latest “crisis” into motion. Publicly discussing trading Porzingis won’t endear Jackson to the budding star, but the problem is how it reached this point. Players in sound organizations can handle this. Jackson has engendered little confidence from his players, the distrust existed well before this round of trade talks.

Lonzo Ball recruits LeBron James to Lakers (video)

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Lonzo Ball doesn’t play for the Lakers. LeBron James isn’t a free agent.

But they’re headed that way – and Ball is already embracing it.

The Lakers are expected to draft Ball No. 2 tonight, and rumors are heating up about LeBron leaving the Cavaliers in 2018.

Why should LeBron join Ball in Los Angeles?

Ball on ESPN:

LeBron, I like to win. I know you like to win. I think our games can help each other out a lot. Any time you want the ball, just let me know. It’s going to be there.

Ball was asked to to pitch LeBron, so it’s not as if Ball is out here talking so brashly on his own. But answering the question was a rookie mistake.

Besides, I’m not sure Lonzo Ball can undo the bad blood between LeBron and LaVar Ball.