NBA Institutes Flopping Fines

The NBA announced on Tuesday morning that it will adopt an anti-flopping rule starting this coming 2012-13 season.

“Flops have no place in our game – they either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call,” said Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations Stu Jackson. “Accordingly, both the Board of Governors and the Competition Committee felt strongly that any player who the league determines, following video review, to have committed a flop should – after a warning – be given an automatic penalty.”

As the NBA defined it, “flopping” is: “any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player.” A player’s physical reaction to contact with another player must match what would reasonably be expected “given the force or direction of the contact.”

Legitimate basketball plays, like moving to a spot in order to draw an offensive foul), and minor physical reactions to contact won’t be treated as flops. But if a flop is determined by video review, the following fines will be assigned:

Violation 1: Warning
Violation 2: $5,000 fine
Violation 3: $10,000 fine
Violation 4: $15,000 fine
Violation 5: $30,000 fine

Any player violating the anti-flopping rule six times or more will be subject to further discipline.

Effect on the Lakers:
In short, the new flopping fines should help the Lakers more than hurt them. L.A.’s defense will be anchored by the league’s best defensive player, Dwight Howard, who rarely attempts to take charges thanks in part to his fantastic athletic ability. Howard is exponentially more likely to come over from the weak side to block or change a shot with his length and hops, instead of sliding in for a charge. Fellow seven footer Pau Gasol will take an occasional charge if the man he’s defending is aggressively backing him in, but also utilizes his length to protect the rim on the weak side instead of sliding in to draw contact.

Kobe Bryant has repeatedly told reporters that he isn’t interested in taking charges, citing the history of injuries suffered by players who commonly did so (Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen) as opposed to those who did not (Michael Jordan). Metta World Peace takes pride in his on-ball defense, and grew up playing on the hard courts of Queens, New York, where charges and flops simply don’t happen. Steve Nash has certainly stepped in to take charges in his career thanks to his hoops IQ, but is not known as the kind of player to try and trick the refs with a flop.

On the other hand, the Lakers should benefit from opponents having an incentive not to flop, due to the mismatches and angles that should be created thanks to the mix of elite offensive talent and new cuts in the Princeton offense. Furthermore, Howard may be allowed to worry a bit less about getting into foul trouble on the offensive end, if defenders are mindful of flopping fines.

With the first preseason game now only four days away, we’ll get a look at how the policy is implemented very soon.