Shane Battier smiles and laughs when he talks. It’s one of the many personality traits that would one day make him a good politician.
Here’s another. Battier will look at you with a straight face and tell you he’s not one of the NBA’s serial floppers.
“Listen, I don’t flop like a lot of these guys,” Battier said. “I know a lot of people say I flop, but I’m too old for that.”
Then, after a few minutes of bantering, Battier will tell you he’s “wholeheartedly against” the NBA’s new “anti-flopping” rule.
“Reputation may play a big role in it,” Battier said.
And that’s exactly what Indiana coach Frank Vogel is hoping will happen this season when the NBA begins administering its new “anti-flopping” rule. The league announced this week that it will begin the tricky work of reviewing flops and dives around the NBA and slapping repeat offenders with fines.
You might recall from last season’s playoffs that Vogel called into question the Heat’s defensive practices during the Pacers’ second-round series against the Heat. The biggest flopping team in the NBA: that’s what Vogel labeled the Heat, and for that show of postseason gamesmanship Vogel was fined $15,000 by the NBA.
Now, under the league’s new rule, a four-time flopper will accrue the same monetary penalty.
“I think two things will happen,” Vogel told reporters in Indiana this week. “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.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra endorsed the new rule this week, but pointed out that “anybody that thinks that flopping comes from help-side charges, they’re getting the concept of the flop incorrectly.”
Taking charges on the weak side is a staple of the Heat’s helping defense, so it’s easy to understand why Heat coaches and players might be a little wary about the new rule. Although Battier is concerned, Spoelstra is confident his players won’t be called into question for one of the Heat’s most basic defensive strategies.
“When you’re making a help-side rotation and you’re putting your body in there, there’s either contact or there’s not,” Spoelstra said. “And if you’re getting run over, you’re getting over. There’s not as much flopping in those areas.”
Here’s how the NBA officially defines a flop: “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.”
So now the league office, which already reviews technical fouls, will now be in the business of reviewing flops as well. A first-time flopper will get off with a warning, but after that the dollars start piling up.
A second flop will cost a player $5,000, a third flop carries a fine of $10,000 and a four-time flopper will be $15,000 in the hole. For five flops, the league will withdraw from a player’s paycheck $30,000, which is roughly double the price of a KIA Soul, the official car of the NBA.