Author: Damian Mendieta
Ever since NBA center Vlade Divac popularized the defensive art of flopping, the league has tried to assert their authority and restrict the dramatics on the court. While Divac, Reggie Miller and Derek Fisher have masterfully flopped during pivotal games, the majority of players today have perverted this art into a clumsy habit of drawing fouls. Flops add a unique blend of excitement to the game, but only if they are executed with pinpoint precision and not by the all-too-common klutzes you see nowadays. As the NBA moved from the Showtime and Jordan eras, players have made their flops look less and less realistic, making the new rules a necessity.
The NBA has tightened the noose on floppers, threatening them with fines that increase with repeated violations. Although players such as Anderson Varejao have stated that they will put a stop to their flopping ways, the new rules do not provide on-the-court instant replay. Instead, the league will review footage in its offices and dole out fines the morning following the reviewed game. No fines are to be given for the first offense, but a measly $5,000 fine will be issued after the second violation. All ensuing violations will gradually increase up to $30,000 for five-time offenders, after which players with six or more flops may receive one-game suspensions.
For the multi-million dollar paychecks these players receive, the flop fines will not be an incentive to stop their theatrics. Higher fines and suspensions should be expected after the second violation if Commissioner David Stern truly wants to get the message across to the NBA.
As the new season tips off, flopping might be reduced early in the season, but it’s likely that infractions will occur later in the year as players start to wise up to the soft policy that Stern has issued. Blake Griffin said it best as he told ESPN, “I guess it’s good in the sense that it stops any of that from happening, but at the same time, you’re telling me if it’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals and a guy has a chance to make a play, he’s going to be like, ‘Well, do I want this $10,000 or do I want a championship?”
If the league does want to stop flopping, they need larger penalties. Yet, fans will begin to miss flops once their teams can no longer benefit from brilliantly drawn fouls. Some might call it deceiving the refs, but flopping is no more than another way of showing off just how good a player is defensively. Players like bad-boy Piston-turned-Bull Dennis Rodman, top Spur defender Bruce Bowden and former Laker Derek Fisher stealthily and creatively managed to pull off flops against tough opponents.
While some might refer to flopping incidents as moments when sneakiness beats skill, it must be remembered that flopping takes an uncanny amount of basketball IQ and quick thinking to be successful. These restrictions are coming up only because some players are terrible at executing their game and have given this defensive art a bad reputation.
For a Laker fan who rejoiced every time Fisher got “fouled” during those crucial playoffs moments, flopping will be sorely missed in the NBA. However, the way these rules are set up, it’s probable that flops won’t be gone for too long.
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