SI Player Poll: Varejao, Ginobili top floppers

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Sports Illustrated’s latest anonymous poll of players is out, and the subject is the biggest floppers in the league. The top guys will not surprise you. Here’s the top 5:

  1. Anderson Varejao
  2. Manu Ginobili
  3. Luis Scola
  4. Derek Fisher
  5. Kevin Martin

Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, and Shane Battier all make appearances in the top 15 as well. It’s interesting that the top three players are from South America. Is it something in the water down there? Is flopping taught as a fundamental like dribbling or moving your feet on defense?

But what’s probably the most interesting thing about this list is that it could have been the same list from four years ago. The league has put in rule changes to discourage flopping, and still the same players are always on these lists of floppers. To be fair, since that rule change, there has been a dramatic decrease in flops (from my perspective, it’s kind of hard to quantify flops vs. normal reactions to fouls).  But these guys are still the main culprits. It’s part of their game, and it’s remained so. You’d think at some point the league would look to make examples out of a few to make it apparent that the game shouldn’t be played that way. But considering some of the star power on the list, maybe that’s unrealistic.

It’s also interesting that you have different kinds of floppers. Pierce and Bryant, for example, are more likely to flop on the offensive end, looking for a call off a pump-fake, while Fisher and Scola of course are more the kind to body up their man on defense, then go skidding across the floor when contact comes. Kevin Martin may be the most prolific offensive flopper on the list, even more so than Ginobili. Martin’s best offensive skill is drawing contact and accentuating it. When he pump faked a Spurs defender in the Rockets’ win over San Antonio Friday night, then flailed to the floor, I actually assumed prior to replay it was a flop. Not based off of visual evidence, but what I’ve seen of Martin before. It was actually a legit foul.

But of course, Martin still flopped to sell it.

In reality, flops are not just part of the game, but being good at it is a crucial skill. Players who try and play without it may be valiant in our eyes, but they’re less effective. Until changes are made by the NBA to try and eliminate it all together (don’t hold your breath), being on this list isn’t a bad thing.

(HT: Red’s Army)