This is flop-tastic.
In a further effort to eliminate flopping at the NBA level, Bleacher Report's Howard Beck reports that the Association will use its Development League as a guinea pig:
NBA's D-League will call technical fouls for flops for rest of season, D-League Prez Dan Reed announces. Starting w/games of Feb 20.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) February 19, 2014
Those worried about referees whiffing on calls will be pleased to hear instant replay is involved:
D-League refs will be required to confirm all flopping techs on replay monitor at first timeout or quarter break after tech is called.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) February 19, 2014
If all goes well, and this experiment is an effective flop-deterrent, Beck says the NBA itself could adopt a similar policy:
Needless to say, if D-League experiment on flopping techs works to league's satisfaction, NBA could go the same route.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) February 19, 2014
At first glance, this appears to be a worthy plan.
Flopping has become an epidemic at the NBA level, and the penalties for floppers have become something of a joke.
"Flopping is off the charts," Phoenix Suns coach Jeff Hornacek previously told Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher.
Culprits are given a warning the first time around, before being assessed fines that increase with every offense. The second flop costs $5,000, then it's $10,000 for the third and $15,000 for the fourth. After that, it increases to $30,000 for a fifth before resulting in possible suspension and further fines following a sixth.
To most, that's a lot of money. To many NBA players, not so much.
Some of the league's most notorious floppers—LeBron James, James Harden, Blake Griffin, etc.—are earning well into eight figures annually. Paying a few thousand dollars—or even tens of thousands of dollars—may be worth it for some if it means swaying a crucial call in their favor.
Would calling technicals on flops help deter flopping more than just fines do?
The lack of in-game consequences is especially ridiculous. Fines don't impact the outcomes of games; technicals do, giving the other team—or victim—potential points while bringing the flopper in question one technical closer to possible ejection.
"There isn’t a better place to experiment with NBA rules than in the NBA D-League, and we are pleased to test this experimental rule that, for the first time, creates an in-game penalty for flopping," NBA D-League President Dan Reed said, via the Sporting News' DeAntae Prince.
"The NBA D-League is the research and development laboratory for the NBA and both leagues are always evaluating ways to further the game," he added.
Maybe after this latest experiment, the NBA will mercifully no longer be the place where amazing flops happen.