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.

Worst of the weekend

This weekend's worst offenders (in no particular order):

Dirk Nowitzki - Game 4, third quarter. Hack across the forearm, somehow he lands on his backside, sliding across the court. You can do better Mr. MVP. here

Ginobili - He basically rips away a rebound from Stoudemire (in the backcourt), and then exagerrates the foul to the point where it looks like he got hit with a tire iron. If he wants to get hit with a tire iron, I suspect he could find plenty of volunteers.

Curt Thomas - This one is the winner for me. He tries to flop after he runs into a screen.... on a DEAD BALL. As in, there was already a call somewhere else, and he still tries to draw a foul.
Shameful sh**.

(Update: we would be remiss if we didn't mention this gem of a deadball flop from last year, Baron Davis flopping against Okur here.)

Stop the disease

Flopping has reached a new low during these recent playoff games. It has been getting worse these past few years, but now, it's so bad it has to stop. It's embarassing; it's disgraceful. It takes a beautiful game, and makes it awkward, tacky and joyless.

If you want to flop, go play soccer. If you want to act, try Broadway. If you want to 'ball, and play in the Association, man up and don't embarrass yourself. If you take a full-on sprinting charge, you have permission to fall down. If someone's breathing in your airspace and you fall down, then maybe sports just aren't for you.

It's hoped here, that by highlighting these flops, and keeping track of the floppers, we can embarass them enough so they stop. Maybe in the offseason, an NBA committee will address this; maybe not. Since Seattle, I've not much faith in the big commish, or his office. We know players care about their millions, some even care about their legacies. Hopefully, enough will care about their rep, that if they get called out for flopping, and lose the respect of the league and its fans, maybe it won't be the thing to do anymore. A little accountability never hurt anyone.

Simmons, are you with me? SA Smith, can you feel me?

(I know SVG is with me; heard him complaining on air, asking the competition committee to do something about it in the offseason.)


So far, a few peeps, bloggers and so forth have addressed the issue:

And of course, the SG. [Pretty sure he addressed the whole idea of this blog somewhere, but since he writes 30,000 word columns, it's hard to track down tidbits specifically. If anybody has a specific link, let me know.] -- Correction: it wasn't the SG, apparently he was asleep at the wheel. The idea came from TrueHoop's Henry Abbott. Thanks to Westy for the info.

These are a bit dated, and a little particular.

As far as I know, no comprehensive study has been conducted.


So the basic goal of this thing is to shine some sunlight on some dirty, dirty, s***. But along the way maybe we address some questions:

1) Worst floppers? Maybe we develop some Hollinger-like statistics. TBD.

2) Where did flopping come from? When? When did it get this bad? (I have theories, but prefer data to back them up.)