Ranking the Most Notorious Flopping Teams in the NBA

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 6, 2012

Ranking the Most Notorious Flopping Teams in the NBA

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    When the NBA enacted its anti-flopping rule structure prior to the start of the 2012-13, they did so by laying out a series of fines for players who perform "any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player" (via NBA.com).

    The official league press release went on to say that flopping will be determined by "whether his physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of contact."

    Any time that a punishment will be determined based on reasonable expectations, there is clearly going to be some gray area. What's reasonable to one official won't necessarily be considered reasonable to the next.

    Flopping has no place in the NBA, even if we're unable to define what exactly it entails. Players know when there's a flop because they feel the amount of pressure applied. Fans and analysts can judge flops with the helpful hand of instant replays.

    But for referees calling the game in live action, flopping is tough to determine. And it's immensely more difficult considering the vague direction they've been given.

    Contrary to an overgeneralized, out-of-touch belief, flopping is not confined to European players. In fact, it's a wide-spread plague affecting the global game:

    Drew Gordon's flop against Lietuvos Rytas. Deserved a technical foul. Just disgusting... but also funny. bit.ly/TwRoLC

    — LithuaniaBasket (@LithuaniaBasket) November 30, 2012

    Despite the relative quiet on the punishment front, the problem is just as rampant now as its ever been. And there are a few NBA teams who've been quite active with "reasonable" deceptions. 

5. Dallas Mavericks

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    There are a slew of teams housing one great actor.

    San Antonio's Manu Ginobili nearly lifts his team inside the top five. Same goes for Houston's Luis Scola or Minnesota's J.J. Barea.

    Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki appeared to be his team's lone thespian. Then Dallas went out and signed Derek Fisher.

    For all of Nowitzki's acting exploits, he can't match the feigned reactions of his newest teammate. Whether crumbled by an otherwise insignificant screen or manhandled by an opposing player simply jogging down court, Fisher's displayed the kind of selling ability that could make Ricky Roma proud.

    Perhaps if Raja Bell forces his way out of Utah, this list will need some adjusting. But until that time, Mark Cuban's club will maintain its membership in the NBA's actors guild.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers

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    The Cavaliers were long represented on the flopping front by Anderson Varejao (named the league's biggest flopper in a Sports Illustrated players' poll prior to the 2010-11 season).

    The Brazilian big man built his reputation by desperately seeking bailout calls or even outperforming the great Fisher. It's hard to imagine the league's top rebounder (15.4 per game) can't hold his weight against point guards or even heavy bursts of wind.

    But there's a new flopper gracing the hardwood of the Quicken Loans Arena: Kyrie Irving's understudy, Donald Sloan.

    Although he's logged just 10.8 minutes in his 12 games this season, he still joined Barea as one of the first players warned for flopping. So given his lack of playing time, it certainly took an award-winning performance for him to draw the attention of the league's front office.

    His forbidden flop was even worse than you think. Parents, please do not let your children watch this.

3. Miami Heat

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    While the Heat claim to compensate for their lack of size by aggressively attempting to draw charges (via The New York Times), the resulting mixture of flailing arms and flying bodies looks better suited for the silver screen.

    Adding noted floppers LeBron James and Shane Battier to the team's roster may have resulted in an NBA championship, but it certainly hasn't dispelled any beliefs that this team embellishes like few others can.

    James and Dwyane Wade may not look to sell attempted charge calls like their teammates, but that doesn't mean they're not for official deceit. Both players draw on their superstar status by plowing into opposing defenders, then violently (and vocally) crashing to the floor. Officials credit the duos penetrating prowess rewarding free-throws for little or no contact.

    But Battier took his acting talents to South Beach and gave this club an unprecedented set of acting chops. Number six on the aforementioned players' poll, he's been honing his craft since his collegiate days.

2. Los Angeles Clippers

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    On the surface, it appears that their acting list may start and stop with superstar point guard Chris Paul. He has polished his flopping ability to the point that he maintains control of the basketball throughout the performance, just in case his reputation alone doesn't draw a foul call.

    But, not surprisingly, he's far from the only actor in Hollywood.

    Ever wonder why Jamal Crawford has such an uncanny ability to find four-point-play opportunities? He's such a proficient three-point shooter (34.9 percent for his career) that he's able to channel some of his focus in to fishing out his legs for opposing defenders. If he feels any contact, he's going to the floor...and often to the free-throw line as a result.

    And Blake Griffin doesn't restrict his acting talents to Kia commercials. Don't believe me? Hear what teammate Matt Barnes said about Griffin before the two started sharing a locker room.

    Even veteran Chauncey Billups has learned from his new teammates. You know that old saying "cheaters never win?" Yeah, that's not always the case:

    Chauncey Billups with a momentous, possibly game-winning #FlopOfTheNight es.pn/TDUpxw #HoopIdea #StopTheFlop

    —Henry Abbott (@TrueHoop) December 4, 2012

1. Brooklyn Nets

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    Could this list have ended with any other franchise? The NBA apparently thinks not.

    Brooklyn houses not only the first player fined for flopping (Reggie Evans), but now the second (Gerald Wallace, via Yahoo!Sports.com). Throw Keith Bogans and Brook Lopez into the mix and this team may have enough talented actors to lure director Spike Lee away from his beloved New York Knicks.

    Then again, Evans did such a poor job of selling his fine-inducing flop, that maybe Lee's better off steering clear of these backyard wrestling performances.

    Wallace earned the nickname "Crash" for his relentless effort of attacking the rim, often at the expense of his own body. Maybe "Near Collision" would be a better way to describe his recent play. (I don't know, though, it doesn't really roll off the tongue quite as easily.)

    Let's just hope the 11-6 Nets continue giving Brooklyn fans reasons to celebrate the return of professional sports. They're certainly not finding Broadway performances inside the Barclays Center.