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Putnam
05-29-2008, 08:13 AM
Fines will be imposed for clear cases of flopping

By Marc Stein
ESPN.com




http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3416579&campaign=rss&source=NBAHeadlines




The NBA announced to its teams this week at its annual pre-draft camp that fines will be imposed on players starting next season for clear cases of "flopping," ESPN.com has learned.

The league office has yet to determine exact fine amounts for offending flops and how fines might escalate for repeat offenders, but in-game arena observers and video reviewers will be instructed to report instances of theatrical flopping for potential punishment as part of postgame reports on officiating and other matters.


The league's pledge to crack down on flopping was conveyed to team representatives at Tuesday's competition committee meeting in Orlando.

NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson confirmed the new policy Wednesday night saying: "What was clearly expressed to the committee is that we would begin imposing fines next season for the most egregious type of flops. When players are taking a dive, for lack of a better term." Because a precise penalty system has not yet been structured, it is not yet known whether serial floppers will be subject to possible suspensions after a certain number of fines for flopping, as seen with the league's protocol on technical fouls. Players who accrue 16 technicals during the regular season are hit with a one-game suspension when they get to No. 16 -- the limit is seven technicals during the playoffs -- and receive one-game suspensions for every other technical thereafter (No. 18, 20, etc.).

Detroit's Rasheed Wallace (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3006), a player who has 15 technicals this season and has been suspended in the past for being over the limit for technicals, gave his opinion of floppers to ESPN after the Pistons' 106-102 loss to the Boston Celtics (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/clubhouse?team=bos) in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday.

"All that bull(bleep)-*** calls they had out there. With Mike [Callahan] and Kenny [Mauer] -- you've all seen that (bleep)," Wallace said. "You saw them calls. The cats are flopping all over the floor and they're calling that (bleep). That (bleep) ain't basketball out there. It's all (bleeping) entertainment. You all should know that (bleep). It's all (bleeping) entertainment."

In other Orlando business:

• The competition committee considered changes to both the current playoff seeding format as well as the format for the draft lottery but ruled against recommending alterations to either.

Both subjects will be discussed again at the next Board of Governors meeting in October, but changes typically aren't made by team owners at those meetings without a prior recommendation from the competition committee.

After another season of great imbalance between teams in the West and East, league officials agreed in April to consider changes that could be implemented in time for next season's playoffs. But NBA commissioner David Stern said from the start that "it's unlikely anything will happen."

The current system sends the top eight teams in each conference to the postseason. That excluded No. 9 Golden State in the West in spite of the Warriors' 48-win season and forced two 55-win perennial powers -- San Antonio and Phoenix -- to meet in the first round.


The West's dominance -- and the fact that only three teams in the East (Boston, Detroit and Orlando) had a higher win total than Golden State -- led to a new round of calls for re-seeding after each round of the playoffs as seen in other major professional team sports, or even sending the teams with the best 16 records to the playoffs irrespective of conference.


But Stern has long maintained that re-seeding is "very difficult when you have the television obligations that we have" because the league's TV partners (ESPN and TNT) would then be required "to wait for every series that can affect the re-seeding to be over." The commissioner has also said that he's comfortable with the idea of a lower seed inheriting the playoff path of a higher seed if it can win a seven-game series.


There is also naturally considerable opposition from teams in the East to sending the clubs with the 16 best records to the playoffs. The current format enabled several sub-.500 teams this season -- such as Indiana, New Jersey and Chicago -- to stay in playoff contention well into April, giving them something to sell to their fan bases in spite of sub-par records and constant reminders from the media about the West's superior depth.

Making overall record its primary playoff consideration would also likely force the league to change the format of its entire regular-season schedule. West teams would have a valid complaint if the 16-team playoff field was determined strictly by record and East teams retained the advantage of playing 52 games against other East teams and only 30 against West teams.


There was likewise no consensus reached by committee members on tweaking the draft lottery. Grumblings about the current system have grown louder with Chicago (ninth-worst record in the league) and Portland (sixth-worst record in 2006-07) winning the past two lotteries, but Stern is said to be strongly against any lottery changes.


• As Stern promised earlier this month, changes were considered by the committee to the league's rules regarding intentional fouling away from the ball, which is more commonly known as the Hack-A-Shaq strategy.

Yet it appears that Hack-A-Shaq will be back next season, too.

Stern himself has said he doesn't like "the idea that [players can say], 'Hey, look at me, I'm going to hit this guy as soon as the ball goes into play, even though he's standing under the other basket.' "


San Antonio made extensive use of the Hack-A-Shaq tactic in its first-round series with Phoenix after Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had shunned the strategy for years. The Suns later conceded that the strategy not only took advantage of Shaquille O'Neal (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=847)'s poor foul shooting -- he missed half of his 64 free-throw attempts in the series -- but also frequently interrupted their offensive flow.


Such intentional fouling is legal until the final two minutes of regulation or any overtime, when intentional fouls result in one free throw and the team whose player was fouled retaining possession.


"We had a pretty spirited discussion on the subject and we talked prospectively about how we might change it," Jackson said, declining to elaborate on the potential alterations.


"But in the end, there wasn't enough support to change it. ... There was a feeling that by changing the rule you would be essentially rewarding a player for a lack of skill by allowing him to stay in the game."


• The committee had extensive discussions about expanding the use of instant replay for next season and voted to recommend a proposal which calls for the use of replay to assist referees in determining whether a basket or a shot on which a player is fouled is taken from behind the 3-point line.


The committee, as expected, is also backing the league's wish to use instant replay to resolve discrepancies on clock malfunctions, after a major clock issue during the Detroit-Orlando series in the second round.

The league was forced to admit earlier this month that a 3-pointer made by the Pistons' Chauncey Billups (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3174) at the end of the third quarter of Game 2 against Orlando should not have counted. There were 5.1 seconds remaining in the quarter when the ball was inbounded, but the clock froze at 4.8 seconds as Billups dribbled into the frontcourt. The whole play actually consumed 5.7 seconds, meaning that the buzzer should have sounded before Billups' shot went up, but the play was not reviewable under current rules. Referees are presently allowed to use instant replay only to rule whether a shot goes in before the end-of-quarter clock expires.


"We still need to refine the procedures involved, but it's expected that Board of Governors will vote on those proposals ," Jackson said.


[I]Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.

=======================================

This was in the RoboHicks RSS feed section. But it might be worth some discussion.

What do you think?

Hicks
05-29-2008, 08:20 AM
The true end to the Spurs dynasty? ;)

count55
05-29-2008, 08:29 AM
What I've always said when people start dicking with the rules is "you can't legislate quality of play."

I think the flopping issue tends to be overblown. I understand it's frustrating, but if we're going to do that, then we also need to crack down on the guys who get defenders in the air, then jump two feet to their right to initiate the contact, and a myriad of other "little tricks" that players try to get an advantage. Don't fine the guys, just don't call the the offensive foul. Players give up enough easy baskets, the coaches themselves will stop the practice.

I think the only real solution to the "Hack-a-Shaq" problem is for Shaq (and others like him) to learn how to shoot Free Throws better. I was (and still am) opposed to the original change regarding under two minutes. Shaq's (and other's) FT shooting is a legitimate weakness to be exploited by the other teams. You wanna stop the other team from doing it, then hit your damn Free Throws.

Speaking of rules, one thing that officials need to do is read the damn rule about the circle in the lane. Prior to its existence, plays where the defender "had good defensive position, but were too far under the basket" went as no-calls. Since then, it's been called as a blocking foul. This is not what the rule says:


An offensive foul should never be called if the contact is with a secondary defensive player who has established a defensive position within a designated "restricted area" near the basket for the purpose of drawing an offensive foul.

The "restricted area" for this purpose is the area bounded by an arc with a 4-foot radius measured from the middle of the basket.

EXCEPTION: Any player may be legally positioned within the "restricted area" if the offensive player receives the ball within the Lower Defensive Box.

The mere fact that contact occurs on these type of plays, or any other similar play, does not necessarily mean that a personal foul has been committed. The offi-cials must decide whether the contact is negligible and/or incidental, judging each situation separately. http://www.nba.com/analysis/rules_c.html?nav=ArticleList

The idea was to make it more clear, to the refs, players, and fans, where a no-call was going to happen, not to incrementally punish a defender who got good defensive position, but his heels were on the line. I'm fine with the no-call, but I'm just tired of seeing guys get fouls they don't really deserve for what would otherwise be a good, smart defensive effort.

Sorry, I'm a little pissy this morning...

naptownmenace
05-29-2008, 10:28 AM
I hope this isn't true. I think this is an overblown way to deal with this problem.

Why not have the refs just call more blocking fouls on gregarious floppers? That's the right call and I think the players will get the point.

JayRedd
05-29-2008, 10:28 AM
Great news. Most annoying part of the NBA, IMO. This isn't Cameron Indoor. Noone should be jumping in front of dribblers 20 feet from the hoop and then pretending he -- a word-class athlete with impeccable balance -- was knocked over by someone doing a spin-dribble. It's dumb, it slows down the game and it creates a bad defensive mindset.


I think the only real solution to the "Hack-a-Shaq" problem is for Shaq (and others like him) to learn how to shoot Free Throws better. I was (and still am) opposed to the original change regarding under two minutes. Shaq's (and other's) FT shooting is a legitimate weakness to be exploited by the other teams. You wanna stop the other team from doing it, then hit your damn Free Throws.

That was about marketing and entertaining casual fans more so than basketball, IMO. It's just boring as hell to watch.

As for the "jumping into defenders" thing...they instituted the "Reggie leg kick rule" a while ago.

But in the case where a defender bites on a fake and the jumps into a shooter's aerial space and then the shooter decides to rise up for a shot...well he infringed on the shooter's rightful space and if contact occurs there then it is a defensive foul. It isn't a foul if the offensive guy jumps forward, but the space vertically above him is rightfully his. And while the offensive guy might still be getting the benefit of the doubt from the refs when he jumps forward into a guy slightly, the refs have been keeping their whistles in their pockets a lot more in instances where the offensive guy egregiously changes position to iniate the contact. For about two seasons now, you see almost one of these a game where the shooter tries to draw contact only to get a no-call and throw up an air ball.

idioteque
05-29-2008, 10:31 AM
Fining is going too far. Just don't call the damn offensive foul and people will stop doing it.

Unclebuck
05-29-2008, 10:53 AM
Even though there was a ton of talk (before the playoffs started) about re-seeding the team - once the playoffs started there has been no talk about how the current system is bad. I think we got the 4 best teams in the NBA in the final four and the two best in each conference playing right now. So why change it

Bridge
05-29-2008, 11:02 AM
One more reason the reign of Stern needs to end, soon.

Fix the officials, don't fine the players for trying to get a foul call. That is part of the game. If it is so obvious then don't call the foul.

I remember one game in high school when I flopped on a drive. The official looked down at me and said, "He never touched you." I laughed, nodded, and went back down the court. I never was a good actor.

idioteque
05-29-2008, 11:13 AM
Even though there was a ton of talk (before the playoffs started) about re-seeding the team - once the playoffs started there has been no talk about how the current system is bad. I think we got the 4 best teams in the NBA in the final four and the two best in each conference playing right now. So why change it

I agree with you. A reseeding may also destroy conference rivalries. Imagine the mid to late 90's if we played the Rockets, Blazers, and then the Knicks one year in the semifinals. Just wouldn't have been as fun.

Trader Joe
05-29-2008, 11:49 AM
Ginobli and Oberto are going to be broke as a joke by the end of the season.

Shade
05-29-2008, 11:52 AM
This ought to open a whole new can of worms.

Flopping does need to be curbed, though. It's just too bad that the refs are too inept to not call the flop in the first place. That would allow the entire situation to take care of itself.

JayRedd
05-29-2008, 12:38 PM
He's taking the issue of flopping out of the refs hands is all.

Since flopping isn't a defensive foul, there's nothing for the refs to call.

So if Stern wanted to curb it, it was either by doing this...Or he would to make every charge/block call even more complicated for the officials by adding a third element to it and making the refs decide charge/block/flop.

In this sense, flopping isn't an in-game infraction, but more of a "disrespect to the game" behavior that will be treated similarly to wearing your shorts too low or rocking arm-bands in an unsanctioned way.

carpediem024
05-29-2008, 12:42 PM
Why can't the refs just get it right?

JayRedd
05-29-2008, 12:44 PM
Why can't the players just play basketball the right way?

rock747
05-29-2008, 12:46 PM
Why doesn't stern put his effort into improving the inconsistent officiating in the NBA first... flopping isn't really a big issue...

carpediem024
05-29-2008, 12:46 PM
Why can't the players just play basketball the right way?

Here's Paul's awesome flop:

<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/3TaRdBpxfrw&hl=en"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/3TaRdBpxfrw&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>

Major Cold
05-29-2008, 12:49 PM
It is a no call that puts the defender out of position. The refs just need to see it that way.

This is just another attempt for Stern to control the league.

JayRedd
05-29-2008, 12:52 PM
Exactly, carpediem.

That behavior by CP3 is ridiculous and has no place in proper basketball.

There is no legitimate reason to ever fall down on purpose on a basketball court. The only reason it is ever done is to intentionally delude a referee into making a bad call.

And the only time it ever happens is when someone chooses to do it. Start fining players who make this choice and they will stop choosing to do it.

Stern is attempting to take corrective action against a now-ingrained behavior that he feels is detrimental to the League, and a wholly unnecessary and non-basketball related behavior.

And...I'm sure much like the "no tolerance" rule for technicals that received so much hoopla when it was stringently enforced for about two months, this will not actually result in millions of dollars of fines, but merely several $5,000 fines handed out between November and Christmas next year, which will largely make the point that "yall need to cut this crap out" and then it will become a low-profile policy that is used like four or five times per month against the most egregious people who refuse to change their on-court behavior.

Major Cold
05-29-2008, 12:57 PM
Exactly, carpediem.

That behavior by CP3 is ridiculous and has no place in proper basketball.

There is no legitimate reason to ever fall down on purpose on a basketball court. The only reason it is ever done is to intentionally delude a referee into making a bad call.

And the only time it ever happens is when someone chooses to do it. Start fining players who make this choice and they will stop choosing to do it.

Stern is attempting to take corrective action against a now-ingrained behavior that he feels is detrimental to the League, and a wholly unnecessary and non-basketball related behavior.

And...I'm sure much like the "no tolerance" rule for technicals that received so much hoopla when it was stringently enforced for about two months, this will not actually result in millions of dollars of fines, but merely several $5,000 fines handed out between November and Christmas next year, which will largely make the point that "yall need to cut this crap out" and then it will become a low-profile policy that is used like four or five times per month against the most egregious people who refuse to change their on-court behavior.

I know that once players quit moaning, more people will return to the NBA. So if the league enforces this rule the same as complaining, then the NBA will never grow a better fan base. It is a joke that players deliberately Sheed their way through a game. Time to time you will foul someone or you won't get every call. GET OVER IT!!!

grace
05-29-2008, 02:24 PM
This ought to open a whole new can of worms.

Flopping does need to be curbed, though. It's just too bad that the refs are too inept to not call the flop in the first place. That would allow the entire situation to take care of itself.

Exactly. If a player flops that means his man is more than likely unguarded. If the team ends up scoring that's a big enough fine to me. It's not the player's fault the ref is too stupid to know a flop from a foul. Now if the league would like to start fining the refs for calling fouls when it was really a flop I'm all for it.

count55
05-29-2008, 03:12 PM
Exactly. If a player flops that means his man is more than likely unguarded. If the team ends up scoring that's a big enough fine to me. It's not the player's fault the ref is too stupid to know a flop from a foul. Now if the league would like to start fining the refs for calling fouls when it was really a flop I'm all for it.


As grace, and others, have mentioned, there's already a mechanism to deal with flopping (stop calling it) and an inherent penalty (the unguarded player). Once again, you cannot legislate quality of play. The more you try, the more you end up damaging the game.

duke dynamite
05-29-2008, 03:27 PM
Why didn't they focus more on just getting better refs?

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/197/500453370_04e84b8a41_o.jpg

Hicks
05-29-2008, 03:29 PM
Since it appears this doesn't change the way the officials call flops, I don't see this as making things worse. It apparently just means if the NBA decides after the fact that you flopped, you get fined for it. That works, I think. Not a cure, but it's a good thing.

Unclebuck
05-29-2008, 03:33 PM
As grace, and others, have mentioned, there's already a mechanism to deal with flopping (stop calling it) and an inherent penalty (the unguarded player). Once again, you cannot legislate quality of play. The more you try, the more you end up damaging the game.


The problem with that is, sometimes a foul is deserved even though a guy flopped

count55
05-29-2008, 03:34 PM
Since it appears this doesn't change the way the officials call flops, I don't see this as making things worse. It apparently just means if the NBA decides after the fact that you flopped, you get fined for it. That works, I think. Not a cure, but it's a good thing.

That's a pretty good point...though flopping doesn't particularly bother me.

count55
05-29-2008, 03:35 PM
The problem with that is, sometimes a foul is deserved even though a guy flopped

Another good point...

Oneal07
05-29-2008, 03:42 PM
LOL. You know these coaches are going to get mad

Wage
05-29-2008, 05:51 PM
This seems absolutely rediculous to me. So basically, the plan is, the refs still blow the calls during the actual game, but then someone decides who should get fines after the game is over?

So now players will be left to make a decision: Should they flop to help their team win, and just pay the damn fine?

Arcadian
05-29-2008, 06:23 PM
Maybe they should fine refs for calling a flop. It is all silly in my mind.

spreedom
05-29-2008, 07:00 PM
I think an easier solution would be to no-call more as opposed to making a call and fining them afterward... seems a little backwards to me...

himikey
05-29-2008, 07:07 PM
How the heck will JO and Duns play defense now?!?

IMHO I like the rule. It works in the NHL (one game suspension after 3 offenses) and it will keep defenses honest. Finally all the damage done by Vlade Divac could be undone!

BoomBaby31
05-29-2008, 09:10 PM
Here's Paul's awesome flop:


<OBJECT height=355 width=425>
&ampampnbsp
<embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/3TaRdBpxfrw&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></OBJECT>

That isn't the worst on Paul did, this one is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41tGIj2lk8Y


If it was the playoffs it could of caused a fight over a flop. Fining is ridiculous and isn't going to stop the flopping however it will cut it down tremendously making the game alot better. A couple of times Lebron James flopped in the Boston series and you would of thought he got shot in the face. Lebron is 245 6'8, colliding with Cassel isn't going to make you go flying into the stands. He almost hurt himself by flopping.

BlueNGold
05-29-2008, 10:23 PM
The NBA just wants more money.

Rather than fine people, they simply need to adjust the rules as needed and make the appropriate calls.

Perhaps if the ref thinks a player flops, it can be a foul on them. Or maybe 2 flops in one game is an automatic ejection. That might be an even greater deterrent.