Is Blake Griffin Becoming a Villain with All of His Flopping?
The NBA isn't the same as it used to be. The rules favor those who attack the basket, the jump shot has become a lost art, and the players have gone soft. The consistent display of flopping is evidence of the latter statement.
After taking the NBA by storm in year one, dominating highlight reels with a surplus of vicious dunks, Griffin has become just as synonymous with one of the other sources of excitement: flopping. Unfortunately, the excitement generated by these acts of inferiority lead to a greater sense of frustration than pleasure.
They also cause a serious decrease in terms of your level of respect.
The question is, which is more important? Is it Blake Griffin's dunking ability or his flopping? As a result has Griffin become more of a hero or a villain? And finally, will he become the NBA's most hated man?
With Griffin striving to become the best at his position, it's important that his reputation stay intact. The All-Star Game selections aren't as sure-fire as he may think, as fellow premier forwards such as Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Millsap are all looking for placement. Doing what fans hate most isn't a great way to keep your spot.
Furthermore, respectable players are firmly against it. Kobe Bryant, for instance, has made it clear that the NBA's elite don't need such tactics to succeed.
"There's a difference [between taking a charge and flopping]. We all know what flopping is when we see it," Bryant said. "The stuff that you see is where guys aren't really getting hit at all and are just flailing around like a fish out of water. That's kind of like, where are your balls at?"
Which is the most significant aspect of Blake Griffin's game?
While Kobe has never been one to formulate phrases of elegance, he is right.
If you're a talented enough player to warrant playing time at the NBA level, why resort to a maneuver that admits you cannot defeat your opponent in a one-on-one situation? Furthermore, why discredit yourself at the expense of another player when you could overcome him with your supposedly "elite" talent?
When a player utilizes underhanded tactics such as throwing an elbow, the NBA jumps in and calls for a suspension. More importantly, the player who performed that act is forever labeled as dirty, thus becoming a villain.
In the case of flopping, a maneuver in which one frames an opponent for an act they did not commit, the treatment should be the same. While a suspension would be far too harsh, it should be the player who flops that is given the foul. It should also qualify that player as "dirty."
But that's another debate, entirely.
In the case of Blake Griffin, who has as many supporters as he does detractors, it's become clear that he's a repeat-offender. Exhibits A, B and C. This has caused players such as DeMarcus Cousins to lash out towards Griffin and even claim the NBA is protecting him. Matt Barnes of the Los Angeles Lakers echoed those complaints.
Unfortunately, Griffin isn't Floyd Mayweather—being a villain will not make him more money or the sport more exciting. Instead, Griffin will learn what all villains do: There is someone out there who is going to put you into your place. Whether it's another Timofey Mozgov, a second Jason Smith or someone with even more malicious intentions, Griffin may not be safe on the basketball court.
And that is the scary reality that he must come to terms with before it's too Kurt Rambis.
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