Posted April 17, 2013

The Floppies: Ranking the 10 most ridiculous dives of the season

Ben Golliver, Brooklyn Nets, Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, Donald Sloan, Gerald Wallace, Kevin Martin, NBA, Reggie Evans, Royal Ivey, Stu Jackson, Zaza Pachulia

chris-paul-demarcus-cousins

To much fanfare, the NBA unveiled a new anti-flopping program last October. Finally, through a video review process that would assess warnings, fines and, in extreme circumstances, even suspensions, fakers and exaggerators would be held accountable for misleading the officials.

Nearly six months later, we’re left to grapple with two contrasting sentiments: Flopping seems to be down, but the anti-flopping program hasn’t been nearly as visible or punitive as observers might have expected.

’12-13 in review: Surprises | Duds | Dunks | Offensive outbursts | Team grades | Game-winners

First, the numbers: Through Monday, the NBA had assigned 24 flopping violations to 19 different players on 13 different teams. Five players have received two infractions each, earning fines totaling $25,000 among them, with zero players getting dinged three or more times. In other words, the sum total of the program is roughly equivalent to a single game check for a player making $2.5 million, and there was no impact whatsoever on anyone’s availability. Was this all just a waste of time?

The flop-master in chief, NBA vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson, recently defended the program, despite its relative lack of warnings and fines. He argued that the policy was having the intended impact through a quiet deterrence.

“[The policy] had an effect and served noticed to the players and the teams that this is something we’re going to be looking at very closely,” Jackson told USA Today Sports in March. “It put everyone on notice again that we were actually looking at these flops and making some decisions. … It’s the scarlet letter syndrome. Most players don’t want to be known or called out for having flopped.”

GRAHAM: Flopping is forever … in nearly every sport

With that scarlet letter concept in mind, let’s hand out The Floppies — flopping-centric year-end awards and a countdown the top 10 flops of the season.

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Floppers of the year (team): Nets. Brooklyn holds two important distinctions: It is the only franchise to have three players warned for flopping (Reggie Evans, Gerald Wallace and C.J. Watson) and two players fined for a second warning (Evans and Wallace). Honorable mention goes to the Clippers, who had two players warned (Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups) — and many (including Jeff Van Gundy) would argue deserved a third; the Rockets, who had one player warned twice (Omer Asik) and another warned once (Patrick Patterson, now with the Kings); and the Timberwolves, who also had one player warned twice (J.J. Barea) and another warned once (Ricky Rubio).

Flopper of the year (individual): Kevin Martin, Thunder. As noted, five players have been warned twice this season: Asik, Barea, Evans, Wallace and Martin. Of that quintet, none sold his phantom calls quite like Martin, who twice hit the deck in outlandish fashion while following through on jumpers. Both of his infractions made The Point Forward’s top 10 flops below, the only player to place twice on this list.

Flop of the year (individual): Chris Paul, Clippers. Explanation below.  

Without further ado, here are The Point Forward’s top 10 flops of 2012-13. Only officially designated flops were eligible for consideration. The absurdity of each play was the chief criterion in developing these rankings.

10. Royal Ivey on Darrell Arthur

Ivey proves that a little creativity is more important than a recognizable name when it comes to elite flopping. As he backpedals to defend Jerryd Bayless, Ivey feels two hands in the back from Arthur and seizes the opportunity to attempt to draw an illegal screen foul by hurtling forward, flailing both arms and letting his body go limp as he crashed to the ground. Replays showed incidental contact.


9. Gerald Wallace on LeBron James

“Crash” Wallace was warned twice this season and he picked good targets: Carmelo Anthony and James. Defending those guys one-on-one will require every trick in the book. Here, Wallace took a little grazing off-arm action from the reigning MVP and hit the eject button, turning his body almost parallel to the court as he tried to sell an offensive-foul call. Wallace has suffered through countless concussions and a punctured lung during his career, proving that the toughest of tough guys can be fibbers, too.


8. Kevin Martin on Jonas Jerebko

If the “Reggie Miller Rule” tag applies to an offensive foul for leg-kicking while shooting, then surely we can launch the “Kevin Martin Rule” offshoot, which applies to flops earned by crashing to the court during the shooting motion. Nobody executes this better, more violently or more shamelessly than Martin. Both of his flop warnings this year came on this type of play. Here, Martin goes horizontal right in front of Pistons coach Lawrence Frank and his bench, flailing his arms, kicking his leg up in the air during the follow-through and, of course, earning three free throws on the light touch from Jerebko.


7. Zaza Pachulia on Kevin Seraphin

This is a classic. The NBA deserves kudos for calling this one out because it surely could have flown under the radar given that it occurred during a mid-December game between the Hawks and Wizards in front of an estimated 478 fans. Anyway, Seraphin goes to the swinging elbows to finish off a defensive rebound and Pachulia reaches in for a harassing steal attempt before nearly doubling over backward while simulating an elbow to the face. Replays show that Seraphin’s elbow got nothing but air, which made Pachulia’s staggering reaction, including a reach for his nose, that much funnier. Phew, no blood! Props to the referees for not taking the bait.


6. Reggie Evans on Metta World Peace

Evans, the league’s most notorious flopper, was dinged twice this season: for jolting his head backward during a rebounding situation against the Celtics and for this dandy, which occurred, believe it or not, at midcourt. Why did the rugged rebound specialist nearly dribble from the baseline to the half-court stripe? Nobody is quite sure, but we can all agree what happened next was chuckle-worthy. Moments after passing the ball, Evans absorbed slight contact to his left side from World Peace that caused him to run off-kilter, throw both arms in the air and bob his head. That halfhearted, half-loony action earned a foul call on World Peace and a classic “That’s a flop!” lip read shot from Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni.


5. Chauncey Billups on Mo Williams

This wasn’t the funniest or the most egregious flop of the year, but it was surely the most successful. With his Clippers trailing by two with just over a minute remaining in Utah, Billups lined up a three-pointer from the right angle. The shot was off, but Williams flew by him to contest it, prompting Billups to allow himself to fall to the court as if he were hit. Billups made two of the three free throws awarded to him and L.A. went on to steal a 105-104 victory, leaving Jazz fans rightfully incensed at the blown call. This play led some to wonder whether the playoffs would see a greater number of flops, as the reward (swinging a road game) far outweighed the risk (a warning that, at worst, carries a nominal fine).


4. Kevin Martin on Andre Miller

This sequence makes it crystal clear why we should refer to these plays as “Kevin Martin Rule” flops rather than “Chauncey Billups Rule” flops. It’s the same general principle — fall down while shooting — but Martin couldn’t give a rip about Billups’ relative subtlety. Here, Martin crashes hard to the court in the left corner after not being touched at all by Andre Miller. This looks an awful lot like Rick Pitino’s trying to exchange handshakes with John Beilein after winning an NCAA title, doesn’t it?


3. Danilo Gallinari on Robin Lopez

Judging some of the low-post, paint-area flops is tricky, because sometimes they result from a defender simply anticipating contact in a block/charge situation that never comes. Gallinari’s flop is sort of like that, except more devious, as he reaches out to touch Lopez’s midsection with both hands before launching backward to the court. The top-down angle almost makes this look like a basketball play, but it’s completely embarrassing from every other vantage point. The fact that Gallinari is inside the protected circle, rendering his attempt pointless, makes it that much funnier. The head bop for no reason as he falls is just the frosting on the cupcake.


2. Donald Sloan on Nazr Mohammed

Sloan set an incredibly high bar when he became one of the first two players warned for flopping this season. On a list full of contact exaggerators, no one, not even Martin, went to the same ridiculous lengths as Sloan. Down 20 points with six minutes remaining in a loss to the Bulls, Sloan picks up full-court pressure defense on Kirk Hinrich, who smartly runs him off of Mohammed near midcourt. Sloan turns to see the screen coming and mostly avoids it, but then chooses not to break his momentum before unfurling a figure skating-esque 360-degree helicopter spin with both arms in the air. His dramatics are so intense that they wind up sending Hinrich to the court, too. Impeccable work.


1. Chris Paul on DeMarcus Cousins

Paul, who was one of the biggest names singled out in the NBA’s official video introducing its anti-flopping policy, takes home the Flop of the Year with this masterpiece. What sets this apart is the sheer cunning. Paul wisely picks out Cousins, a noted hothead and valuable player, as his target. What better person to flop against than the NBA referees’ least-favorite player? Paul then initiates the contact by lightly touching Cousins before flailing and screaming in a jumping motion that carries him roughly five feet backward. Cousins responds with a classic “get off me” dismissal as play continues. This is the best of the best (or the worst of the worst): thought-out, proactive, ridiculous, funny, shameless and shameful. A worthy winner in every respect.

50 comments
myhandlerules
myhandlerules

Looks to me like Pachulia just had a natural reaction to seeing an elbow flying toward his face. He ducked back, so lost his balance.

Roland J
Roland J

I remember days when men were actually men. 

BlakeBradley
BlakeBradley

Start handing out Technical 2's to all these guys and make them miss the next game. Simple solution.

JonathanD
JonathanD

The Thunder have the biggest flopper of the year this year (Martin), the biggest flopper of the year last year (Harden), and three of the top 6 guys in free throws played for them last year (Harden, Durant, Westbrook), even though none of the three really get fouled that much.  Is this something they teach in Thunder practices?

note
note

here's another post with different flopping highlights "and the nominees for best performance in a basketball dramedy are…" http://wp.me/s1e33K-flopping

ESPN-Sucks
ESPN-Sucks

The biggest flopper in the NBA, D-Flop Wade, didn't make the top 10?

Ryan7
Ryan7

The Denver/Gallo one is the funniest.  If you watch again, pay attention to Corey Brewer.  He actually flops against Lopez first, so it's a tag-team flop.

But I don't know how Chris Bosh didn't make it onto this list:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIcfBlL524s

stimpsonjkatz
stimpsonjkatz

Demarcus Cousins and CP3 got their feet tangled up. This is pretty obvious if you look at their feet at about 9 seconds. I think Cousins maybe stepped on Paul's foot right as he was changing directions. You can see Cousins also lose balance, flail his arms and look down.

Winger7
Winger7

I lack the technical expertise to link to here, but go on youtube and look up "Italian Soccer Practice."  Its a hoot!

JohnDiaz
JohnDiaz

How could one do an article on flopping without mentioning the greatest flopper of all time, Vlade Divac.

Rob14
Rob14

A true NBA story.  This epitomizes the Stern regime.  It's all acting anymore.

flakfizer
flakfizer

The soccerizing of basketball.

Winger7
Winger7

Sorry, these guys are rank amateurs.  For real flopping expertise you need to look at soccer players.  I once saw a video of a ref who was brushed by a player.  The ref fell on his back and covered his face with his hands as though he had gotten punched.  Priceless.

drudown
drudown

I thought #10 (Ivey) was the worst.

yuenglings
yuenglings

Lebron in last year's playoffs had 10 that would beat everyone one of these.  Plus he'd than give that patented smirk.  Dwayne Wade is right up there with him.  How neither has been warned this year just proves that the entire process is a joke!

YourBoy69
YourBoy69

Flopping is a very, very feminine thing to do. That CP3 flop makes me think of him as a little girl now. As for LeBron's flopping, he does still flop a good amount but he used to flop way more in my opinion. 

cosmicwonderful
cosmicwonderful

Kinda egregious that you didn't name this your "Flop 10 list."

Sami
Sami

In 30 years we have gone from Kevin McHale grabbing Kurt Rambis by the throat while he was in the air and throwing him in the ground, to these prancing primadonnas. NBA, it's fantastic. Flopping, traveling and guys who dunk and don't have a clue about basketball. That's 85% of the league. 

jslorang
jslorang

I don't care about whether people think Chris Paul is a flopper but this is just stupid. If you look at a video of that Chris Paul play that shows the whole picture you can clearly see that Cousins steps on his foot and that is the reason he almost falls and flails. Maybe he is a flopper but he wasn't trying to flop on that play, his foot just got stepped on. Please pay better attention if you're getting paid to analyze stuff like this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcxXGPDC1Gs

JD17
JD17

That Paul play was pathetic though.

JD17
JD17

Lebron = King of the Flop

McGibblets
McGibblets

Any flopping list that doesn't include LeBron, Wade, and Bosh is incomplete and a flat-out joke.  Those three are three of the top-10 floppers in the League.  But, they never get caught and they're consistently rewarded for their acting.

I would add Chalmers, Allen, and Battier to the list, but it's more egregious when the superstars do it and get away with it.

p.s. Chris Paul should have been suspended at some point for his flopping.  He's the worst offender in the League.  He flops two to three times per game.  He should be embarrassed by his behavior.

BruderJakob
BruderJakob

@BlakeBradley I think they should hand out punishment immediately. Have someone upstairs look at it. It doesn't help the team who was harmed if the next team has a weaker opponent. Utah surely wouldn't think "Gee, we're glad Chauncey doesn't play the next game."

lamdee
lamdee

@Ryan7Because he is wearing Miami jersey. When you search Dwyane Wade flopping, even more.

McGibblets
McGibblets

@stimpsonjkatz Chris Paul cannot be defended for this acting job.  No way.  No how.  It doesn't matter if their feet got tangled for a millisecond.  

Paul initiates the contact.  Paul flails his arms and contorts his face as if he's been shot.  Paul then looks at the ref and points at Cousins, as if he expected a foul call.

Chris Paul is pathetic.  When he came into the League, I liked his play.  He's very talented and he can be a tough little guy.  But, he is embarrassing to watch when he performs moves like this.  It's even more embarrassing because he is so talented and he is so well-liked.  If he were some bum who couldn't do anything on the court but flop, it would still be pathetic, but understandable.  But, to be a talented star and do stuff like this... embarrassing.

StephenMichaelW
StephenMichaelW

@Rob14 Sad but true...too much acting...and if you're selling jersey's (Lebron, Kobe)...no fouls for you...keep on playing.

KevinSchmidt
KevinSchmidt

@mrc_tmchk Oh good Lord! That's awful! Lebron James is such a baby! I bet he got a personally phone call from Stern to see if he was okay!

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

@YourBoy69 There's a reason why no videos featuring James (as the flopper, I mean) are on this list.  

He'll exaggerate contact every now and then as much as gamesmanship basically demands of a competitive player in this modern NBA, but never with the shameless theatrics of these players, and *never, ever* when he was truly untouched on the play.  

If for no other reason, James is too sensitive of the possibility of looking bad in the media to consider it.

BARRYWINDHAM
BARRYWINDHAM

@Sami Look no further than a guy who played against McHale and Rambis toward the end of their careers named Vlade Divac. He brought the European soccer over exaggerated flop to the NBA. Before Divac, guys would gut it out and take a charge. After Divac, guys as big and strong as Karl Malone would collapse  with the slightest touch.

McGibblets
McGibblets

@jslorangChris Paul cannot be defended for this acting job.  No way.  No how.  It doesn't matter if their feet got tangled for a millisecond.  

Paul initiates the contact.  Paul flails his arms and contorts his face as if he's been shot.  Paul then looks at the ref and points at Cousins, as if he expected a foul call.

Chris Paul is pathetic.  When he came into the League, I liked his play.  He's very talented and he can be a tough little guy.  But, he is embarrassing to watch when he performs moves like this.  It's even more embarrassing because he is so talented and he is so well-liked.  If he were some bum who couldn't do anything on the court but flop, it would still be pathetic, but understandable.  But, to be a talented star and do stuff like this... embarrassing.

John4
John4

@JD17 And yet he didn't make this list so clearly at best he has a lot of competition for the position of King of the flop.  The Denver flop (Gallo?) vs. Lopez was ridiculous.  

cornelius
cornelius

@McGibblets  

 Oh man...really bro?  Biased much?  I mean, you might as well call out the entire Heat roster while you're at it.   I have to agree with your assessment of CP3, but your blatant bias against the Heat just invalidates any point you were trying to make.  I'm not defending the Heat, but lets be reasonable here.

YourBoy69
YourBoy69

@leehwgoc @YourBoy69 That's true, James isn't a big time flopper. Though, he does whine and complain excessively which I also deem feminine. 

The facial expressions LeBron and some of these guys make after some contact, Kobe I'm looking at you, makes it look like they're going to cry if the ref doesn't cater to them. Even after they get fouled, some superstar players still throw up their hands and complain to the ref. It's so girly and weak. 

JD17
JD17

@John4 @JD17 They are all bad. But LBJ's flop against the Knicks last year in the playoffs was the biggest disgrace I've seen on a basketball court. That should win the award every year. Plus any time he plays Chicago he flops around like a fish out of water. Pathetic.

McGibblets
McGibblets

And, you know there is a League-wide mandate that no Heat be warned or fined because NO HEAT HAS BEEN WARNED OR FINED!

Oh, and who did Bleacher Report name as the #1 Flopping Team in the NBA?  The one and only Miami Heat.

McGibblets
McGibblets

@cornelius@McGibblets 

I'm not saying other guys don't flop.  Probably 75% of all drives to the basket consist of acting by either the offense or defense.  But, the Heat live in the Flop Zone.

AndrewLennon
AndrewLennon

@cornelius @McGibblets  quite honestly, if wade wants to play dirty then im fine with it, just don't flop. The league's going soft and it's cuz the super stars have decided to take it there. 

cornelius
cornelius

@McGibblets  

Mmmm...I gotta go with either the Nets or the Thunder.  Those teams get away with ALOT of flops.  However, Lebron and D-Wade do get away with alot of flops.  Lebron picks his moments so he gets away with more.  Dwayne Wade is known for recklessly going to the rim so his limbs flail alot and he gets more calls.  Russell Westbrook is the same way.  He's totally out of control when he drives...but that's why he gets alot of calls. The European players are by far the worst about flopping because they've mastered it.it's an accepted part of the European game.

There's an art to taking charges too.  Battier has definitely mastered it.  Allen and Chalmers, I don't see the consistent flopping. 

As for a league wide mandate, I don't know about that.  Maybe, maybe not.  I have seen alot of games where the Heat got completely jobbed by the refs and alot of games where they were favored by the refs.  Same for other teams. 

Guany01
Guany01

@McGibblets @cornelius There is no team in the nba who benefits more form flopping and  faliling their bodies than the thunder. Refs already admitted last year in the playoffs, that they let lebron take contact because hes strong and he should be able to play through it. you just sound like an angry fan. Watch any thunder game before you complain about flopping. literally any game the thunder have played in. against the Heat both times this season, they shot over double the FT's. now how does that make sense if heat live in flop zone?????

McGibblets
McGibblets

@cornelius@McGibbletsBy "unsportsmanlike plays" I assume you mean teams that play tough defense and more often than not get penalized with fouls for defensive plays that are clean and by-the-book.

Look, I don't know if you're a Heat fan or not.  If you are, I'm sorry for you.  Enjoy the bandwagon ride for the next few years.

Regardless, the Heat are as unsportsmanlike as can be.

I need to show only two plays to prove this as fact.

1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMLnOTewYGg  --  Not even a play on the ball.  Wade was out to hurt Collison out of frustration for turning the ball over.  Wade should have been ejected and suspended for at least one game.  Instead, only a Flagrant-2.  Wade's allowed to continue playing and faced no suspension.  Pathetic play by a pathetic player.

2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fre_SGtycBM  --  Wade clearly wraps his arms around Rondo and forces his full body weight on him to take him down to the ground.  Why?  Once again, because Wade was frustrated with turning the ball over.

Wade is a classless punk.  And, he's been the face of that franchise for a decade.

LeBron should be embarrassed by his flopping, constant whining, and staring down of officials when he doesn't get every single call in a game.

Everyone else on that team is a follower of Wade and LeBron. 

cornelius
cornelius

@McGibblets @cornelius  

Yeah I'm not saying the Heat don't flop alot, but I don't think every player on the team is an egregious offender.   And for Frank Vogel to call out other teams for flopping or getting too many calls is a joke.  They're one of the the worst teams in the league besides the Bulls and the Celtics for making what I would consider unsportsmanlike plays and then whining to the officials when the calls don't go their way.