Will the NBA's Anti-Flopping Rule Affect the L.A. Clippers Most of All?
Frankly, the Clippers have more important things to worry about than a new flopping penalty. Flops, whether they are premeditated or not, are more a nuance of a player's game than they are a defining quality.
None of the Clippers' offseason plans involved developing schemes to maximize a player's flopping capabilities. Ultimately, the league's anti-flopping rule will not have such a significant impact on the Clippers in 2012-13.
While CP3 may be construed of a flopper, his game is really defined by his incredible court vision, competitiveness and clutch play.
In an interview with host Eric Hasseltine on ESPN 92.9 Memphis, Gay said (via straightouttavancouver.com):
(Host: I know you’re friends with Chris (Paul).) I mean I love him but I don’t like him anymore. (Host: I mean that’s your brother but as a team and man look they made a new rule because of them, the flopping rule came out.) Well yeah. ... One of the best parts of the playoffs last year was seeing Chris with the bonnet on. That was hilarious.
Despite Gay's sentiments, few people outside of Tennessee interpreted the Clippers vs. Grizzlies seven-game slugfest as a matchup between Flop City and the Grit-N-Grind Grizz.
The major takeaways of that series were more of an affirmation of Chris Paul's brilliance, and the coming out party for the precocious Clips.
In the grand scheme of things, Paul has much more to worry about this season than the NBA's flopping rule.
Although the Clippers made significant roster upgrades to balance out their lineup, they still lack a sustainable plan for defending against coach Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs' complex schemes. Outside of the Spurs, the Los Angeles Lakers stole the headlines by bringing in Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, creating a more top-heavy conference that will give the Clippers problems.
Paul has to be weary about his team's chances in a loaded conference, not about a rule against flopping which should not affect him much this season.
Do the Clippers flop the most in the NBA?
The tangible benefits of flopping are often negated by Lob City's tremendous woes at the free-throw line.
Among the alleged flopping culprits last season were Blake Griffin and Reggie Evans.
Although Evans was a fan favorite, some of his game did involve some rather demonstrative flopping. His overt flop against the New Orleans Hornets towards the end of last season did no favors to change the perception of Flop City.
Nevertheless, whether Evans headed to the free-throw line on a flop or on a legitimate call did not help his productivity from the charity stripe.
Evans shot just 50.7 percent from the free-throw line last season and just 42.5 percent during the playoffs. This poor output may have been one of the key reasons behind his departure to Brooklyn during the offseason. His replacement, Lamar Odom, is a player more associated with point forward prowess rather than flopping technique.
Even through Blake Griffin has been called a flopper, his first two seasons have been more characterized by hard flagrant fouls than by intended flops.
Like Paul, Griffin has bigger concerns than a flopping penalty. It would be shocking to see a massive change in his game; the Oklahoma product has been a bruiser since his rookie season.
Drop the Flop
There are a lot of positives going on in Los Angeles and Clipper Nation is eager to begin the season.
A full and reloaded offseason has the Clippers among the Western Conference elite. With an opening night rematch against the Grizzlies and an early season Battle of LA , excitement for the start of the season is picking up.
Heading into the start of the regular season, the spotlight in Lob City will be on DeAndre Jordan's refined postgame and Eric Bledsoe's rapid development. Coaches and fans will be curious as to how Odom and Jamal Crawford will fit into the team's rotation and how Paul will continue to elevate his game.
This is arguably the best team in franchise history, and players are eager to capitalize on the moment.
Don't expect too much talk about flops.
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