“If a player violates the anti-flopping rule six times or more, he will be subject to discipline that is reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension,” states the NBA’s news release.
A new set of penalties for playoff floppers will be released at a later date, according the league.
The league announced its new flopping rule Wednesday. By Thursday, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki was calling it “a bunch of crap.” Nowitzki, despite being labeled as one of the league’s most notorious floppers, apparently has a conscience as pure as freshly driven snow.
“I never looked at myself as a big flopper,” Nowitzki told The Dallas Morning News. “If you play me physical then, obviously, I got to sell the call and get to the line. That’s just part of the game. We’ll have to see how they enforce that.”
There’s hope for Nowitzki and alleged floppers of his ilk. The league wrote in its official “anti-flopping” news release that “physical acts that constitute legitimate basketball plays (such as moving to a spot in order to draw an offensive foul) and minor physical reactions to contact will not be treated as flops.”
In other words, better bone up on those acting skills, Dirk.
Watching for Wade
Dwyane Wade is already on the NBA’s flopping watch list, apparently. The league has cut together an explanatory video, which can be viewed at NBA.com/ official, to help players, coaches and fans better understand what constitutes a flop under the new rule. One of Wade’s more egregious flops is used as an example.
In the play, Wade kicks out a leg to draw contact on a jump shot and then corkscrews to the ground as if the Karate Kid had just swept his leg.
“While there is marginal contact on the play,” explains the video’s narrator, “the flail and spin to the floor by the player is an over-embellishment and is inconsistent with marginal contact.”
“Over-embellishment” is the key phrase. In many instances, the speed of the game makes it difficult for referees to distinguish a legitimate foul from a flop that could win a Tony Award.
An art form
In the past, that wasn’t really a problem for the NBA. Flopping has been a part of the league for a long time — just ask former Lakers thespian Vlade Divac, who turned the flop into an art form late in his career — but late-night NBA TV shows and YouTube has turned video highlights of flopping into a point of significant embarrassment for the NBA.
“Flops have no place in our game — they either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call,” said Stu Jackson, the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations.
The act of fooling referees (some might call it cheating) chips away the integrity of the game.
For players like Battier, who pride themselves on drawing charges, the new rule is rife with potential problems. Chief among Battier’s concerns is how block charges are officiated. Nothing in the rulebook states that a player must go sliding backward on his jersey to draw a charge, but “the unfortunate thing about the block charge,” Battier said, “is I’ve had more refs tell me that you have to go to the floor to get the call. Inherently, there is something wrong with that.”
In other words, if Battier is fined as a repeat flopper, he’s not blaming himself.