Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

Just before the season began, the NBA outlined its new procedure for curbing flops, the habit of exaggerating contact that ran over Jeff Van Gundy's dog when Van Gundy was only a young boy.


At the time, certain things weren't entirely clear about the NBA's new restrictions on theatrics: what's the difference embellished and grossly embellished? Where do you draw the line between gamesmanship and cheating? When are you trying to distract your opponent, and when are you trying to trick the officials?

Two of the three cases the NBA has dealt with so far have been fairly straightforward: above, Donald Sloan of the Cavs gets run off a pick and does an arm-flailing pirouette that could only have resulted from a violently illegal screen—Nazr Mohammad's pick wasn't that. Below, Kevin Martin, doing (as Ben Golliver notes) exactly what the demonstration of the flopping videos said you couldn't. At about 1:15 in the video here, Dwyane pulls his go-to leg kick to initiate contact during a shot, just like Martin. Considering how rarely any contact occurs from the play, much less a defensive foul, it's probably a good thing that the maneuver is getting called a flop:

This one, though, from November 5th, is less clear: Jimmer Freddette wacks J.J. Barea in the neck for no reason. It's a foul, and got called a foul. But J.J. Barea got the warning:

How much waving is too much? Players ought to be allowed to draw attention to real contact, within the limits of reason, and that seems to be what Barea does here. Your first warning is free, but violations 2, 3, 4 and 5 mean $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 and $30,000 respectively. The sixth can be an increased fine or a suspension. Sloan and Martin, those guy flopped. But if the NBA applies this rule to every demonstrative reaction to a real foul? We might be seeing some four-on-four in March and April.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter