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Flopping: It’s not just for defenses anymore

Jan 1, 2014, 7:01 PM EDT

Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

You see it all the time in the NBA: A point guard comes off a pick and attacks the paint only to find the opposing team’s center there waiting for him cutting off the lane, so the guard pretty much charges into the big man, falls back, flails his arms as he throws up a “shot” and tries to draw a foul.

Is that not flopping?

As the league has pseudo cracked down on flopping (David Stern didn’t think the current fines would do the job) what we see in games now is as much guys on offense trying to sell calls as much as defense.

Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report got a couple players to talk about that.

“They need to clean that up,” says Warriors center Andrew Bogut, whose primary job is to prevent scorers from getting to the rim. “Some guys just look for the body and a way to draw contact and then fall back. That’s not basketball…

“Harden,” Bogut says, “has gotten to a whole other level.”

“It’s unbelievable,” says veteran forward Channing Frye. “It’s just part of the game now. It’s becoming an art.”

James Harden sells calls like that. Chris Paul does as well. LeBron James has had his moments. But those are just the big names — there are a host of others that do it as well.

And they will continue because it works — they get some calls and there is no real punishment. Flop once (and the league only points out the most egregious cases where there is no question) and you get a warning. Twice and it’s a $5,000 fine. What is that to Harden or CP3?

Players are always looking for an edge, until there is a true deterrent to flopping giving them that edge it will continue.

  1. elwaysagenius - Jan 1, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    The most egregious “no doubt about it” flops should draw a 1 game suspension.

  2. titansbro - Jan 1, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    NBA = Soccer

    • norcalkingsfan - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:54 PM

      Hopefully not. Good to see flopping awareness, and the addressing of it.

    • lunasceiling - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:08 AM

      Actually, soccer has done way, way more than the NBA to deal with diving (at least in many leagues). These days, the refs are a lot more aggressive about handing out yellow cards for “simulation,: and it’s making a difference. The days of going down like you were hit by sniper fire every time someone brushes against you are on their way out. Finally.

      The NBA needs to start taking flopping even more seriously. The league has made progress in this area…but it’s far from enough.

  3. norcalcard - Jan 1, 2014 at 7:21 PM

    It’s going to be next to impossible to stop since every player knows Dwyane Wade has built himself an All-Star career featured running into the lane and flopping like a fish out of water, going to the line and shooting two. rinse and repeat for an entire career. And now suddenly it’s not NBA Basketball? Look the day Refs STOP giving the flopper Two free points for doing it, then it will stop.

    • miamatt - Jan 2, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      They can’t and won’t stop rewarding floppers. The point of a flop is to simulate or exaggerate contact and draw a foul. As long as a given play appears, in real time, to the refs on the floor, to be a foul, then floppers will continue to get calls at times. The refs don’t have the luxury of watching 50 slow-mo HD replays to make the call.

      My only point of mild disagreement is that you imply that Wade invented offensive flopping. This is nothing new, in spite of what some people would have you believe. You can find articles from the ’60s and ’70s written about flopping. Like it or not, flopping is a part of the game and always will be. And how could one blame Wade for doing it? Wins and losses are on the line!

  4. dolphindubs - Jan 1, 2014 at 7:32 PM


    Dwayne Wade has built a Hall-of-Fame career, not just an All-Star one. Show the proper respect.

  5. spursareold - Jan 1, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    It’s real simple: the league office must tell the refs to stop calling those fouls. Every year there are points of emphasis for the refs. This year it’s traveling and moving picks. Next year, it should be this.

    Once a player sees that loose ball go back the other way for a fast break dunk 2 or 3 times, they’ll stop.

  6. mightbegoingtohellforthis - Jan 1, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    I’m pretty sure James Harden wears a Speedo under his uniform.

    • 1historian - Jan 1, 2014 at 10:08 PM

      who told you that, may I ask?

      Or maybe I shouldn’t

  7. saint1997 - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    It’s too subjective to ever be able to place a definitive punishment. E.g. CP3 into Roy Hibbert, who is to say Paul embellished contact? It’s a foot and 80 pounds at least, where does contact turn into flop? Too hard to judge

  8. jcmeyer10 - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    I agree. Same with the offensive player getting tapped by the defender fighting through the screen. The offensive player will get touched and rear their head back as if they got held and then get the call.

    Did that make sense?

  9. dolphindubs - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    Something along those lines that should also be looked at is when a shooter intentionally swings their shot motion into a defenders arms to draw a foul. Kevin Durant has perfected that. I don’t think that should be a foul call. That is no different than flopping.

  10. jacobk621 - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    Anybody in the league who played his college ball at Duke university should be at the top of the list !!

  11. norcalkingsfan - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    We need the media to cover this epidemic if we want change to occur. Articles like this only help. Cheers proballtalk. Wish flopping would be addressed by all sports media.

    • antistratfordian - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:48 PM

      Well, ESPN started their #StopTheFlop movement back in 2012. They have a “Flop of the Night” feature calling out your daily egregious flops. So… people are on it.

  12. antistratfordian - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    The most dangerous offenders are the subtle floppers – the artful floppers – because they do it the most. They do it so often and people don’t even realize that they’re “flopping.” I’m talking about the likes of Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant, etc.

    Guys like Harden, Chris Paul, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili get a lot of attention for offensive flopping because they’re so obvious – but it’s the stealth floppers who are actually getting away with murder.

  13. pavelfitzgerald - Jan 1, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    It’s embarassing & one of the reasons why I watch little NBA & mostly college. The college game is played & policed the right way.
    Travelling in the NBA is outrageous too. Guys taking pivot steps after their hop steps, often getting away with 4 steps, it’s downright embarassing

  14. wowwowbad - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    flop and great defensive play, there’s differences.

  15. jerdogthompson - Jan 2, 2014 at 2:27 AM


    Why would you put a pic of CP3 for this article? I know why, but that’s not the point. The point is you need to start being more fair and balanced in your writing. I acknowledged such balanced skills on a later post. C’mon man.

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 2, 2014 at 2:42 AM

      CP3 was one of the players named in the article as selling calls, that’s why.

    • spursareold - Jan 2, 2014 at 6:39 AM

      Because he’s one of the worst offenders on both sides of the ball? There’s a reason he’s nicknamed Chris Fall.

      • davidly - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:31 PM

        Twin to Cliff Fall, who buys an insurance policy for every one he sells–and cuts the customers brakes.

  16. footballer4ever - Jan 2, 2014 at 6:24 AM


    “I’m pretty sure James Harden wears a Speedo under his uniform.”

    Quite an imagination you got there or is that a fetish instead? 😛

  17. chrisco716 - Jan 2, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    Give coaches three challenges per half to be reviewed on video. If flopping is obvious then the flopper gets a technical. if not, coach loses TO. 2 T’s you’re out! That will stop the flop! At least the ridiculous Harden-style flop.

  18. belleby123 - Jan 4, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    This is patently absurd. Every single charging call in the NBA is based on a flop.

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