Chauncey Billups became the latest offender of the league’s policy against flopping on Wednesday, receiving a warning for this kickout of his left leg late in the Clippers win over the Jazz on December 3.
It’s a clear flop, but the problem is that it worked to perfection. L.A. was trailing by two, and Billups was awarded three free throws for his actions. He made two of the three, and it helped the Clippers come away with a 105-104 victory.
It almost seems like the league’s purpose with these warnings to put the responsibility of calls made by the officials on the players, rather than on the referees themselves. The fines need to be harsher or suspensions need to be levied if that’s the true intention, because there’s no taking away those three free throws that were illegitimately earned by Billups.
NBA uses stars to demonstrate flops that will be fined
Since the NBA announced they were going to be reviewing potential flops at the league office the next day, and fining players determined to have flopped, the big question has been “where will they draw the line?”
Friday, the league released a video showing what would and would not draw a flop (that video is only on league sites currently). But the people they used to show flops were big names — Dwyane Wade, Tony Parker, Chris Paul, Josh Smith, Danilo Gallinari and others. Don’t think for a second that is an accident. People in the video who may have embellished but it was not so blatant as to draw a fine were people like Ronny Turiaf — not stars.
Basically, the video suggests it will be the most obvious, over the top flops that draw fouls — it shows Wade taking a jumper in last year’s Eastern Conference finals then flopping to draw a foul on the Celtics’ Mickael Pietrus. It was blatant and obvious.
Here is how the league describes what will be called.
“The main factor in determining whether a player committed a flop is whether his physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would have been expected given the force or direction of the contact. For example, a player will be considered to have committed a “flop” if he falls to the floor following minimal contact or lunges in a direction different from the direction of the contact.
This is what we should expect — if it is a blatant and obvious flop, a fine is coming (a warning for the first one, $5000 for the second, $10,000 for the third, $15,000 for the fourth and $30,000 for a fifth).
But for a lot of things fans want to see called, there will be nothing. If you exaggerate existing contact — within reason — the league can’t fine you for it after the fact watching a video.
“Actually, many players have said, that’s great,’’ Stern said about the reaction he’s gotten so far. “Now we can make the game about basketball talent rather than acting talent.
“I think the players association has a different perspective. I guess they like acting. But we think we have the greatest athletes in the world playing at a very high pace and they should be rewarded for that great play and they shouldn’t cause the game to be decided on anything other than their basketball merits.’’
—That is David Stern talking the new NBA fines for flopping, via the Dallas Morning News. He is referring to the fact the players union has said it will file a grievence on the flopping fines issue.
Nice, overly-simplistic answer for a not that simple question. The union’s concern is that they were not negotiated with, not really heard on a new fine that impacts their players (the league said they did speak and that it is well within its rights to move forward with this). The union may want to discuss the appeal process, enforcement and more. And we all have questions about enforcement, including NBA owners.
Stern goes on to say the league may error on the side of caution in handing out fines for flopping. They kind of have to, judging things on video the next day. But how much will that help the perception the NBA is flop happy? It’s going to be fun the first time a passionate fan base — let’s say the Knicks — think they got screwed in a game on a flopping call and the league doesn’t come down with a fine.
Dirk Nowitzki calls flopping fines “a bunch of crap”
“I never looked at myself as a big flopper,’’ Nowitzki said Thursday after the Mavericks arrived in Germany for their preseason opener on Saturday. “If you play me physical then, obviously, I got to sell the call and get to the (free-throw) line. That’s just part of the game. We’ll have to see how they enforce that.
“I think it’s a bunch of crap to be honest with you. Are they going to come back after a game and fine you for flopping? That’s tough to do to me.’’
Nowitzki, like Blake Griffin before him, is hitting on the key here — how will this be enforced? Where are the lines going to be drawn? It’s easy to point out the obvious flops — Greivis Vasquez cannot run over Reggie Evans and send him flying — but most of what gets called by fans as a flop is a case where there is contact but then a player sells that for a foul.
Where do you want to draw that line? Is how a player falls after contact a true indication of how hard the contact was? Can you really judge that from video?
We will see where they draw the line. But know Nowitzki is not on board.
Cuban says flopping rules may have “unintended consequences”
The NBA announced plans for new fines for flopping (which the union is appealing). The idea of punishing floppers sounds great and it’s an easy move on the most obvious and egregious calls. But most calls fans thinks of as flops are embellishments of real contact, and drawing that line for the NBA suits in New York is not going to be that simple or easy.
And Mavericks owner Mark Cuban expresses a legitimate and interesting concern — will this cause the referees to call things differently. Via ESPNDallas.com.
“It depends on whether or not it changes how flopping in game is called,” Cuban replied in an email from Berlin, Germany, where the Mavericks are playing an exhibition game this weekend. “If it just causes the refs to give floppers the benefit of the doubt knowing the league can deal with it after the fact, it could have some unintended consequences.
“A big question is going to be how much depth of explanation is going to be given when a fine is [assessed] and whether or not the league will enforce teams paying the fines for the players who get caught flopping.”
Where does the league draw the line? Where do the referees on the court — who have always had the ability to call a foul on flopping — draw the line? How the league enforces all this will be interesting.
And is it going to come down to how a guy falls when hit? Cuban suggested as much.
“The one thing the NBA should do, but of course it won’t, is to make it so an offensive foul is NOT called if a guy falls on his butt,” Cuban wrote. “The biomechanics of force and resistance don’t cause you to fall flat on your butt on contact, unless the defender intends to fall on his butt upon contact So if you see charges called because a guy lands on his ass, you know nothing has really changed. If the ‘look at me, I’m on the floor’ gets you nothing but a smirk, you know the rules are working.”
It’s not going to be clean and simple. Not at all.