Flippity flop goes the NBA.
Five months ago, Frank Vogel was fined $15,000 for calling out the Miami Heat as “the biggest flopping team in the NBA.”
Now, the league has decided flopping is such a problem it requires a change to the rules.
Floppers will be hit with graduated penalties: a warning, followed by fines ranging from $5,000 for the first to $30,000 for the fifth flop. If a player reaches six, a suspension will be in order.
So can we call it the Frank Vogel Rule?
“Hell, no,” said the coach with a smile. “I don’t want to be associated with flopping in any way, shape or form.”
Here is how the league defined the offense in announcing the rule:
“ ‘Flopping’ will be defined as any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player. The primary factor in determining whether a player committed a flop is whether his physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact.”
What is absent from the rule is anything that would actively impact the game. The flops will be determined by postgame video review only, with fines being assigned after the fact.
Nonetheless, several Pacers believe the rule will have the desire impact.
“Guys that have been penalized five or six times are going to be less exuberant in their acting,” Vogel said. “I don’t think the money is a deterrent. I think the level of their penalty will be the deterrent.
“I think two things will happen: the players will not want to be labeled the biggest floppers in the league and the officials are getting these reports, so now their eyes are dialed into these floppers more.”
To me, there are at least a couple of problems with the rule, the biggest being that it carries no in-game penalty. Why not allow officials to call technical fouls for flopping? There already is a points system in place for players that pile up Ts leading to fines and suspensions, so why not tie flops into an existing system, rather than create a new one? It would also serve as a powerful active deterrent because it carries the additional threat of ejection with a second violation.
The other problem is one of logistics. Let’s just pull a random name out of the hopper for no particular reason to use as an example. Say Shane Battier gets a memo from the league informing him of a fine for a flop in a game two weeks prior. How is Battier supposed to learn from a mistake he very likely can’t remember?
In and of themselves, fines are rarely much of a deterrent to NBA players, but Paul George likes the new rule.
“I think it will affect a lot,” he said. “It took away from the game. Guys are playing hard and you’ve got guys that just want to flop and there’s a lot of emotion just from flopping, so I think it’ll clean the game up.
“That $5,000 doesn’t seem like it’s a lot to NBA players but if you’re a flopper, it’s going to stack up because you think about doing it every game and that’s going to be in the back of your mind. That will play a role.”
Most fans probably associate flopping with defenders that flail wildly and throw themselves to the floor when bumped by an oncoming opponent. You know, the thing Battier has developed into an art form.
But offensive players also are guilty, exaggerating contact on screens, bumps on cuts through the lane and when banging in the post. Think Reggie Miller in his prime.
That’s why Sam Young likes the rule. The former Memphis forward has made his mark as a strong, physical defender.
“I love the fact that a guy like me can play tough defense and hasn’t got to worry about guys jumping all over the place and flopping all over the place,” he said. “Any time I get one of those guys that likes to flop, it kinds of makes me cautious of what I want to do or how I want to play them.”
Like it or not, this new rule is upon us – a year too late for the Pacers’ liking.