NBA

Why NBA's New Flopping Fines Will Clean Up the Game

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12:  Manu Ginobili (R) of Argentina, drives to the basket against  Andrei Kirilenko of Russia during the Men's Basketball bronze medal game between Russia and Argentina on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 12, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Eric Gay - IOPP Pool /Getty Images)
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Kelly ScalettaFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2012

The NBA's new flopping policy is in, and for those who have grown weary of the increasing trend in the NBA, it's a happy day. The new policies should play a major part in cleaning up the game. 

John Schuhmann of NBA.com tweets out the details of the policy. 

 

NBA announces new flopping penalties: 1st time: Warning. 2nd time: $5K fine.Then $10K, $15K and $30K for the fifth violation.

— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) October 3, 2012

 

Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk adds another detail. 

 

Do it a sixth time and the league has choice of larger fine or suspension.

— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) October 3, 2012

 

 

Naysayers may point to the cons of this kind of punishment—namely that the punishment isn't enough. After all, what's a $5,000 fine compared to a $5 million salary? (For those not good at math, it's one-tenth of one percent.)

Granted, the reality is that most NBA players aren't going to have to juggle their bills the first time they get levied with a flopping fine, but that doesn't mean the idea of the fine is going to flop. In fact, it should do just fine. 

It's not the fine that will get the players; it's the shame. It's one thing to be accused of being a flopper. It's another to be convicted of it. 

Take a player like Blake Griffin, who could give flopping lessons to a fish out of water. Griffin is strong enough to bend iron, but if you watch him play it looks like he's about as easy to toss as a small bag of dry leaves. 

Do you think he would take pride in being labeled a "wuss" or something worse? There's a point where pride and dignity will take root in these players. 

Players don't want to be noted for their ability to be flung on the floor with the greatest of ease. They want to be noted for their ability to play defense.

Look at the genuine defensive respect that Shane Battier (who is highly proficient at drawing real fouls) receives compared to Manu Ginobili, who has a song written about him. 

And furthermore, don't you believe that players like Kevin Garnett will have something to say to those who are accruing frequent-flopper miles? I'm fairly certain the word "wuss" is of the kindest that would come from the lips of Garnett. 

However, the players aren't the only party that will be shamed. The referees who are the most gullible will be exposed as well. 

Expect the referees to step up their game and start applying common sense and basic physics to some of the charge calls. When Derek Fisher sends Anderson Varejao across the court with his left hand, there might be a ref that has the thought, "Hey, maybe there was a bit of a flop involved here."

If players start accruing multiple fines, refs aren't going to want to be the next sucker to bite.

Then there's the combination of the two. Players who have a history are going to eventually run into the same sort of issue as they do with technicals. Reputations can make calls go one way or another. Even legitimate foul calls might be overlooked because a player has a history of flopping. 

Players don't want the rep. Neither do the refs. Fines aren't the punishment; they're just a scorecard. This is bound to cause players to think twice. 

As players reverse the flopping trend and refs stop calling flop fouls, the game will be a more enjoyable one to watch. True talent will win out over acting ability, and the real virtue of the game will be on full display. 

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