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SI Player Poll: Varejao, Ginobili top floppers

Apr 2, 2011, 6:30 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v Oklahoma City Thunder

Sports Illustrated’s latest anonymous poll of players is out, and the subject is the biggest floppers in the league. The top guys will not surprise you. Here’s the top 5:

  1. Anderson Varejao
  2. Manu Ginobili
  3. Luis Scola
  4. Derek Fisher
  5. Kevin Martin

Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, and Shane Battier all make appearances in the top 15 as well. It’s interesting that the top three players are from South America. Is it something in the water down there? Is flopping taught as a fundamental like dribbling or moving your feet on defense?

But what’s probably the most interesting thing about this list is that it could have been the same list from four years ago. The league has put in rule changes to discourage flopping, and still the same players are always on these lists of floppers. To be fair, since that rule change, there has been a dramatic decrease in flops (from my perspective, it’s kind of hard to quantify flops vs. normal reactions to fouls).  But these guys are still the main culprits. It’s part of their game, and it’s remained so. You’d think at some point the league would look to make examples out of a few to make it apparent that the game shouldn’t be played that way. But considering some of the star power on the list, maybe that’s unrealistic.

It’s also interesting that you have different kinds of floppers. Pierce and Bryant, for example, are more likely to flop on the offensive end, looking for a call off a pump-fake, while Fisher and Scola of course are more the kind to body up their man on defense, then go skidding across the floor when contact comes. Kevin Martin may be the most prolific offensive flopper on the list, even more so than Ginobili. Martin’s best offensive skill is drawing contact and accentuating it. When he pump faked a Spurs defender in the Rockets’ win over San Antonio Friday night, then flailed to the floor, I actually assumed prior to replay it was a flop. Not based off of visual evidence, but what I’ve seen of Martin before. It was actually a legit foul.

But of course, Martin still flopped to sell it.

In reality, flops are not just part of the game, but being good at it is a crucial skill. Players who try and play without it may be valiant in our eyes, but they’re less effective. Until changes are made by the NBA to try and eliminate it all together (don’t hold your breath), being on this list isn’t a bad thing.

(HT: Red’s Army)

  1. tubal22 - Apr 2, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    The worlds best floppers play soccer. So it’s only natural that players from countries where soccer is king would be the most prolific floppers in the NBA.

    • keegax - Apr 3, 2011 at 1:18 AM

      the NBA wrote the book on flopping.

  2. ahemahem - Apr 2, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Durant.

  3. zackd2 - Apr 2, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    How about technical fouls for those caught doing obvious flops?

  4. machomaniac - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    *cough* KOBE *cough*

  5. thestudiokida - Apr 3, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    Floppy Divac is the most notorious flopper of all-time. He was flopping before people even knew what it was. OG Floppy.

  6. gugurich - Apr 3, 2011 at 2:23 AM

    Chris Paul should be here. I don’t know how he’s not. He’s in the teens, he should the list. Before this season, he was always a flopper but this season he’s taken it up a bunch of notches. Because of his talent and stature, his flopping is worse. He’s ten times the player that Fisher; he shouldn’t employ the same dirty tricks.

    Fisher isn’t just a defensive flopper unless you believe that his getting fouled on jumpshots routine was actually legit.

  7. davidly - Apr 3, 2011 at 8:07 AM

    I can’t believe Skibby MaRoo isn’t on the list!

  8. oumoonunit - Apr 3, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    I would thing Nick Collison would be on the list. Doesn’t he lead the lead in taking charges. He gets one or two a game.

  9. vprkilr - Apr 3, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    what about Pau Gasol??? He’s pretty damn good at flopping and crying foul all the time

  10. borderline1988 - Apr 3, 2011 at 11:46 PM

    I have less of a problem with players flopping on the defensive end, then on the offensive end.
    Fact is, to draw a charge, you have to fall back on a hit. Offensive players can legitimately foul you, even bulldoze you, but if you don’t fall, you’re not gonna pick up the charge.
    So it’s not like Varejao or Scola are faking being fouled. They’re just embellishing contact. But as aforementioned, THERE IS CONTACT.

    On the other hand, let’s examine the cases of Paul Pierce of Kobe Bryant. These guys actually fake being hit. They will shout when they get stripped, even if the defender got all ball. They will automatically fall to the ground after driving to the basket, even if no defender touched them. They will flail their arms after a shot, or fall down after a jump shot. They will complain to refs after every drive, no matter what happened.

    For some reason, it’s okay for Paul Pierce or Kobe Bryant to pull that BS (Wade does it a lot as well, as does Chris Paul). But for Verajao to embellish a shoulder to the chest against a large offensive post player backing down on him, that’s just total floppage, right?

  11. beemrdon - Apr 4, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    Reggie Miller wins the FLOPPING award hands down. Rip Hamilton comes in at second place.

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