Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why players flop

Last night, Lakers-Spurs, game 4. Brent Barry 'bumped' (according to Popovich, Jackson), 'fouled' according to the TNT crew of Reggie, Chuck, Jet, and EJ. But an interesting point Reggie made, was that Barry didn't "sell it." By 'sell it' they meant jump straight into him, in a shooting motion... and force the refs to make a call.

If Barry, when he got 'bumped,' had fallen to the ground, arms flailing, I'm thinking he would've gotten the call. But since he managed to get a call off, he didn't.

I see why everyone says it was a good no-call: end of game, 'light' contact, etc. But the general point that Barry could've decided whether to make it a foul or not (and not the ref), leaves me a little uneasy. That's essentially the whole problem with flops, players deciding when they get fouled, and then falling down to show it to the ref.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Game 3: Hornets-Spurs

Supposedly Celtics-Cavs was flop-tastic. We didn't see that game, we've got some Celtics-Spurs, with video, hopefully in the future (but def not tonight).

1st quarter

5 flops by Ginobili. (We'll have a breakdown after we get hands on video).

3rd quarter

10:30 Parker flops on D, NC (No Call)
10:25 Paul flops foul on Parker
10:10 Parker flops a foul.... call: travel
8:27 handfight foul on Bowen... no real flopping, but plenty of handwaving
6:17 Oberto tries to flop CP3, NC
0:43 Ely tries (mildly) to flop off-ball

Somewhere else in the third, Parker tries to flop a foul, Duncan gets tangled up over Parker, and CP3 zips up court for a 5 on 3.


8:20 Parker hits his head on fall down on made layup. By my look, he didn't have to hit his head as he fell, and he hit his head through an act of embellishment.

Flop Log: Lakers-Jazz, Game 2

Second half only, video to follow.

3rd quarter

- 7:40 Odom falls after missed layup (looking for call? borderline)
- 7:20 Brewer(?) falls in the post after fouling Kobe... note to Brewer, you're supposed to fall if you get fouled, not the other way around
- 6:51 Kirilenko falls, foul on Okur (borderline)
- 5:21 D-Will, charge taken, (just modern defense)
* 3:55 Brewer flops, playing post defense, Walton with easy layup. (embarassing)
- 1:10 Kobe flails his arms while driving thru the lane (s.o.p.)
- 0:30 Walton falls backward playing post defense (mildly embarassing)

4th quarter

* 6:55 Harpring flails (twice) on off-the-ball contact in the lane, No Call
- 3:01 Vuijajic mini-flail, half-fall after Boozer pushes him back working for rebounding position. No Call. (embellishment)

Another item: I forget when it happened, It didn't seem like a flop at the time, so I didn't log it. But D-Will fell down after a driving shot attempt, in the aftermath, he was accidentally kicked (possibly in the man region, no good replays), and was lying hurt for a few seconds. But players will fall down enough on legit contact. With increased flopping, you get all these extra bodies lying in the lane, with high probability of getting kicked, stepped on, or otherwise tangled up with the feet of the still-standing. Once a flopper takes a serious foot to the face, I'm guessing the number of volunteer floppers will go way down. It's all fun and games when refs call non-extant calls, but if players notice the downside to flopping, maybe they'll rethink their choices.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Spurs-Hornets Game 2

Quick comment here, no video yet:

All types of chippiness in the third.

~3:00 left in the third quarter. I think David West flopped that foul on Oberto, and was clapping in his face b/c now Oberto's getting a taste of his own medicine.

The proof of course, may be in the video pudding.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Different Kinds of Flops: the Manufacture

Here is a clip of Bonzi Wells abusing Manu Ginobili:

Oh, on second viewing, it's just good ole Manu up to his shifty tricks. Thanks, Manu, for showing us all exactly how to manufacture a flop call out of thin air.

What makes it manufactured:

1) There was no call already on the play when he fell.

2) Even after watching it, you can't see the foul.

3) There is usually a body flying through the air and sliding on the hardwood at least 4'-5'.

4) Chances are coaches are sending the clip in to league officials, and league officials are making the refs look at their handiwork.

5) It's a tough game to officiate, but chances are the ref who called it didn't see the 'foul' directly,
but instead only reacted to the flying body in his/her peripheral vision.

The manufactured flop: it's a classic. Chances are, whenever you see a flop, it was simply manufactured.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The past is the past

Round up of what others have said on the topic, from way back. Items may be added here from time to time.


A Tar Heel fan here quoting Simmons (SG's original post here ):

The single most disgusting NBA development of the past few years? The flopping. Slowly, regretfully, inexplicably, the sport is morphing into soccer — as exemplified by Kirilenko’s swan dive near the end of Tuesday’s Jazz-Warriors game that fouled out Matt Barnes, or Kirk Hinrich’s perfectly designed flopparoo to draw Chauncey Billups’ fourth foul in Detroit Tuesday. I blame the influx of European players for this trend because flopping has always been an acceptable part of soccer; they grew up watching that crap and understood that it could work in basketball as well, especially if you have a group of largely incompetent referees calling the action. So it started a few years ago, it’s gotten worse and worse, and now, it’s affecting the overall competitiveness of these games.


Dwight Howard complaining:


Different Kinds of Flops: the Embellishment

Maybe someday we'll cover all the different types of flops we find in the NBA, until then, we'll just do case studies of different types of flops. Today's flop: the embellishment.

Sample clip:

So we have Nowitzki actually getting fouled by Tyson Chandler.

Chandler bodies up on Nowtizki on the wing, and Nowitzki yells out already wanting a foul. Then Nowitzki beats Chandler driving left, and Chandler grabs, a whistle is blown, and then Chandler fouls (again) with a push, presumably to stop the easy continuation layup. So far, it's all still basketball. Then Nowtizki pirouettes, flails his limbs, and falls on his butt. Welcome to flop town.

At the end of the day, they call a technical on Chandler, and Nowitzki is at the stripe by himself.

What makes it an embellishment:
1) There was already a call being made (in this case the whistle had already blown).
2) The call gets escalated from a foul to a technical. So I guess we'll call this an Embellishment II. A regular first degree embellishment wouldn't have an escalated foul call with it.
3) It looks fairly serious on first viewing, but silly in hindsight.


Another example of an embellishment would be Kirilenko's pirouette after the hand-check by Scola. (here) at around the 1:10 mark. Was he fouled? Yes. Was the flailing necessary? I say no.

Tuesday night games

Flop of the night:
An as yet anonymous Jazz defender guarding Carl Landry in the post. Flops on contact, and gives up an easy layup. Pretty sure Sloan didn't draw up his 'fall on the ground' defense for that one.

(Details are sketchy because I only saw it on an ESPN highlight... more details to follow.)

[Update: according to commenter Jeremy, it was D-Will.]


Lots of play-acting: Kurt Thomas pretends to get assaulted as he goes around a screen in the third; Duncan trips over his own feet; Giricek pretends to flop coming over a screen.... (maybe on this one he got himself out of position which opened up the entire defense for a Parker drive?); and of course Ginobili continually throwing his hands up into the air (was he trying to start the wave?).

In general there was a lot of flopping around screens, but as long as the NBA refuses to acknowledge the moving screen, why keep trying?

One that was pretty bad: Kurt Thomas, setting a screen, jumps backwards and falls down as Diaw tries to go around. Diaw wasn't exactly friendly about it, but from my eyes, did not generate near enough force to propel Thomas directly backwards. I'd like to do some physical reconstruction of this, a la Oliver Stone's JFK.... back and to the left.... back and to the left... just to point out how much Thomas helped himself fall down. I'm not saying he didn't get fouled, as Diaw looked pretty frustrated getting around the screen, but CT gets the flop-assist.

General observations on the series: I think the Suns and Spurs were trying to out-do each other in the flop department. A year ago, I probably would've said the Spurs were the worst floppers. But in number of attempts, I'd say the Suns have caught up (if you can't beat 'em, copy 'em). Only the Suns aren't nearly as good at it as the Spurs. For the Suns, it throws them off their game, while San Antonio seems to flop more 'in rhythm.' When the Suns flop, play seems to just go on without them, while when the Spurs flop, they seem to be able to make it a dead ball so they can't get out of position (think of Ginobili's flop and losing the ball out of bounds from a few days back).

Aside: the youtube clip below shows just how bad the Suns are at flopping, and by bad, here I mean, they don't execute it. Nash just falls down, but can't pick up a call. (Spurs fans: yes, Ginobili receives a hard foul at the end of the play. )

At any rate, the flops tend to go down in the second half and into the fourth quarter. It seems when things are really on the line, players are less likely to go fishing for calls, and just play basketball.

But when you compare this series to other series, this one stands out. How many flops in the Atlanta-Boston series? How many times does Lebron even need to try and flop considering all the help he's getting from the Wizards? I think Kenyon Martin flopped once in the DEN-LA series. But flopping is what's standing out about this series. The Spurs closing out games, and the Suns turnovers (esp games 1 and 5) should be the storylines... and for the flopping to detract from that is just sad.

Lately Stern has been trying to focus everything on the game. All the crap about menacing gestures, all the stuff with players complaining to refs. For me, flopping is in the same category. It detracts from the game itself. Because it's a sham when he says these are the best athletes in the world, and then they fall down every other possession like they're a bunch of bowling pins.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Hawks - Celtics

Zaza Pachulia, receives an elbow across the face (from Davis?), and falls down - end of first quarter - rating: 1. Anytime you get an elbow across the chops, we can live with it.

Acie Law - loose ball, open court contact with Posey. Law falls down. - 7:41 left in the second. Rating: 2 - borderline. Hard to tell; going that fast a little contact can do big things.

Zaza P. - 7 left in the 2nd. Rating: 3 - embellished. Took that elbow threat from KG. Zaza staggers back so the refs notice.... But then he comes back and start jawing at him. Bottom line, if you're going to respond tough, then you gotta take it tough to begin with. Somebody comes at you with an elbow to the face, go at him. But don't pretend like it was that big a deal to begin with.

(This one might be the opposite of the rule where 'they always catch the second guy', when refs never see the initial contact, only the reaction. Maybe Zaza was trying to make sure the refs saw the initial incident, so he wouldn't get t'd up by himself.... but still, not winning any points on this blog. It wasn't a proud moment, but given that he got elbowed earlier, maybe we get him some leeway.

Youtube Playlist

Here's the youtube playlist where all the flop videos will be kept:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

How you can help

82 games * 30 plus teams, is 2400 games a year. I can't watch that much basketball.

Thankfully, this is the playoffs and there is less basketball to go around.

But still, I don't have quite the time, access, or video equipment to do it all myself. So if you see acts of flopping that need to be called out email me. Or upload it to youtube, and we can link it from here. Hopefully, we can get by with a one of two contributors who follow each team. This campaign will be a success if we get support and interest from others. If not, it'll just fade, and flopping in the NBA will get worse before it gets better.

Who's with me?

Kudos of the week

LBJ - took some hits from the Wizards this series. But the thing is, when a man of his size falls down, with his rep, you know he took some contact.

Tony Parker - for that hit he took from the Big Cactus. If you want to fall down, take a hit like that from someone on the higher side of 300 lbs.

Not a flop. Take a full-speed hip-check from the Diesel, and yes, you have permission to fall down.

Chris Paul - same story. Little dude takes a hit from a Big Man, in his case, Eric Dampier. Does he exaggerate? Does he embellish? No. And Damp should just be happy he didn't get punched where it hurts.