Ranking the Biggest Flopping Teams in the NBA
Reggie Evans was one of the first players in the league to draw a warning, thanks to the NBA's new anti-flopping policy, and if the policy is enforced, he'll be the first one to write a check after hitting the deck in Brooklyn's game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
The fact is, flopping is as much a part of the game as bad calls, lucky rolls and jump balls; sometimes, they go one way and other times, they go the other. Sure, they can have an effect on games, but in the end, we more or less have to deal with them.
There's a fine line to draw in the sand that separates good position and selling a foul from a blatant flop, and when that line is crossed, people tend to freak out, and rightfully so. What makes it even worse is when a handful of players on a team become incredibly good floppers and swing a game in their favor.
There's an imbalance of power in this league, and I'm not talking about a talent gap between the top and the bottom of the league, but rather a flopping gap. A lot of the league's best teams are also the league's best flopping teams.
So, let's take a look at which floppers change the game so much that they get their teams labeled as flopping teams.
7. Houston Rockets
There's a bit of a discrepancy when I describe the Houston Rockets as a flopper's team, mostly because it's centered around two players.
The first one is an obvious flopper. James Harden has been known for taking a dive and hitting the ground a little bit more often than necessary for a while now, and he even caught some heat for flopping in the Finals a few times last season.
Houston's second flopper is still on the fence for me. In the case of Omer Asik, I'm not actually sure if he's a good flopper or just terrible at keeping the ball in his hands when he's in and around the paint.
Either way, Asik and his ridiculousness around the rim (whether on purpose or not) are worth keeping an eye on going forward. If it starts to seem like he's controlling it, then I'm calling him out. But for now, I'm going to give him a little bit of leeway because I genuinely think he's just an out-of-control player.
6. Los Angeles Lakers
There once was a time when Sasha Vujacic and Pau Gasol promenaded around the court together and made one of the most egregious flopping combinations in the NBA. Those days are dead, but the Lakers are still a pretty decent group of floppers.
Gasol is the one that obviously leads the pack. He plays in a way that usually translates to more calls, mostly because he's got such long limbs, but also because he's got a very expressive face that's good at overexaggerating contact.
One that people usually scoff at is Kobe Bryant. He's not on the level of most of the guys I'll mention moving forward, but Kobe is a great offensive flopper. He can get into the lane, go up for a shot, make some noise, come down awkwardly and force a call as good as anyone in the league.
Of course, there is a fine line between offensive flopping and creating contact to get a call (even though those sound like the exact same thing).
The rest of their team is going to take a dive from time to time, but not so much that anybody else should be overtly pointed out.
5. San Antonio Spurs
This is a case where one player can elevate a team's status right to the top of the league. It's like calling the Miami Heat one of the best dunking teams in the NBA because they have LeBron James or the Chicago Bulls one of the best at layups because of Derrick Rose.
In this case, Manu Ginobili is the only guy on San Antonio who is going to be flailing about a lot more often than the rest of his teammates, and it might even be possible that some of the guys he plays with can do a bit more flopping in comparison and not be noticed.
Ginobili continues to be one of the most blatant floppers in the NBA, and an argument could be made that he's the worst in the league. That's just an extension of his style of play, I believe.
He's constantly weaving in and out of players and doing so with his body at extreme angles. This makes it easier for him to sell what little contact he draws because his body is already contorted when he's attacking the lane.
It's just a lot easier to end up getting that call off a Euro-step. I wonder if it's a coincidence that the league's best floppers are historically Europeans, although I'm pretty sure Vlade Divac never Euro-stepped.
4. Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns put together a team in the offseason that immediately gave them a flopper's reputation, and they acquired their main culprits from the same team.
After Phoenix signed free-agent Goran Dragic away from Houston, it had a guy who was a pretty decent flopper, but after it picked up an amnestied Luis Scola, there was no doubt about who the team's best flopper was.
Scola is one of the most obvious floppers of the past decade (it's probably the hair, just ask Anderson Varejao), and his spot in the post makes it easier for him to feign more contact than there actually is, since he's got huge guys backing him down.
The Dragic-Scola connection could have been the best power forward-point guard flopping combo in the league if it weren't for a duo that grabs a spot slightly higher on our list.
3. Brooklyn Nets
This is the flop that should warrant the first-ever flopping-related fine under the new rules set by the NBA during the offseason.
Reggie Evans' flopping notoriety has come from a long way back, and to a certain extent, I can't hold it against him. He's not a guy who's out there flopping in spite of his talents; he's doing what he has to do to earn a paycheck and stay on the floor.
There are other Brooklyn teammates that are prone to embellishment at times, namely Brook Lopez and Keith Bogans, but those guys don't do it nearly enough to compete with Evans, one of the three best floppers in the league.
If you've got Reggie on your team, it's always going to make you one of the best flopping squads in the league.
2. Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers lost their spot as the league's top floppers, much to the chagrin of all of their fans, I'm sure. Reggie Evans got shipped out to Brooklyn, so their biggest, most impressive flopper set them back a bit.
Never fear, however, they've still got Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
Griffin got a lot of flak last season for the cultivation of his acting gene, but at this point, it's something every big man needs in order to get calls. If you can't exaggerate contact that would be an obvious foul on a smaller person, then it's more than likely not getting called.
I'm not necessarily defending it, just giving him an excuse.
However, there's no reason Paul, one of the league's most gifted players, should be resorting to throwing his body around to get free points. He's got the ability to outplay his opponents, rather than outwit the referees, and that's the way he should play the game.
Excuse me while I get down off my high horse and we can continue.
1. Miami Heat
Ladies and gentlemen, your most notorious flopping team in the league today also happens to be your defending champions! I'm not saying correlation equates to causation here by any means, but it's certainly a weapon the Heat have in their back pockets.
Off the top, we know that Chris Bosh is this team's king of the obvious flop, that is hitting the deck when nothing actually happened to him.
Next comes LeBron James, quite possibly the most gifted offensive flopper in NBA history not named Reggie Miller. That's not to say he abuses his power too much (he does abuse it a bit), but he is very good at getting calls on marginal contact.
Then they've got Dwyane Wade, who's not as big a flopper as the other two, but his ability to berate and coerce the referees is equaled by nobody else in the league.
Finally they've got the old veteran, Shane Battier. Battier doesn't go for any of this new-age flopping on the offensive end or when there's no contact. He's the old-school, Vlade Divac-style flopper. He plants himself firmly, waits for some contact that's just enough to jolt him and sends himself sprawling.
It's actually quite beautiful at times, even if you're one to hate the flop.