Tuesday, March 20, 2012
The 2012 All-Flop Teams
By Beckley Mason
When Shane Battier, the patron baller of HoopIdea, called out former teammate Luis Scola for being one of the most accomplished actors in the league, it got us thinking: Who are the most egregious floppers around?
We asked the TrueHoop Network for help, and the result is our first ever All-Flop Teams.
Chris Paul, PG: Paul quickly emerged as the consensus Most Floppy Player. As this video from Daily Thunder’s Royce Young shows, Paul is truly a fantastic two-way talent. Graydon Gordian elaborates, “I think Royce's video demonstrated two really distinct things Chris Paul does: (a) He stops dead in his tracks, backs up into a player who's behind him and then falls forward, and (b) he maintains possession of the ball and/or makes a pass while going to the ground. He doesn't lose the ball when flopping, which lots of guys do.”
Raja Bell/Manu Ginobili, SG: Controversial decision to include both of them here, but really these two have given so much to the game. Manu with his whiplash-inducing head thrashes as he drives to the basket and Raja Bell with his ability to be thrown backwards by the slightest of contact. Here’s the Raja-Manu mixtape of floppery.
Paul Pierce, SF: Pierce is another two-way player who isn’t afraid to artistically embellish any contact (real or imagined) with a sometimes ludicrous flourish.
Luis Scola, PF: Battier put it best: “The more hair you have, the better. My boy Luis Scola, he’s got that long hair and when it gets sweaty and he starts flopping and flailing, it looks like he’s getting murdered out there.”
Ben Wallace, C: Writes Patrick Hayes of Piston Powered: "Wallace is adept at going for rebounds in heavy traffic, but he also uses that traffic to his advantage. If a shot is missed and he doesn't have a great angle to get to it, he's patented a move where he jumps forward and lurches his body while simultaneously letting out a loud 'OOOPH,' which over the years has pretty regularly convinced officials he was pushed in the back. Often, video evidence suggests otherwise. Wallace's artful flopping on rebound attempts has been just another valuable skill he's brought to the Pistons that doesn't show up in his stats. Oh, and don't ever mention to him that he flops ... he doesn't like that.”
Rajon Rondo, PG: Rondo’s habit of throwing himself into a defender 50 feet from the hoop and firing off a prayer as time expires isn’t why he’s a celebrated flopper. It’s because, as Brendan Jackson of Celtics Hub noted, he’ll fall over as a defense mechanism whenever he gets in trouble with his dribble, especially along the baseline. (Also receiving votes: Tony Parker, Derek Fisher, Deron Williams, Chauncey Billups.)
Jamal Crawford, SG: A unique flopper, as Kevin Arnovitz explains, “There's a reason Jamal Crawford holds the all-time NBA record for 4-point plays. As the sharpshooter elevates and releases his shot, he'll gracefully hinge his hips forward, kick his legs into his defender and often land on his tuchus in the process.” (Also receiving votes: Dwyane Wade, James Harden, Kobe Bryant.)
Corey Maggette, SF: Ethan Sherwood Strauss paints us a picture of a typical Maggette flop: “Two dribbles hoop-ward and he’s already leaning for contact. It’s an offensive foul, or at least it would be were it not for Corey’s sleight of hand. Somehow this ball of muscles flies backward from the 'contact.' It’s a visual trick -- Maggette uses an off arm to redirect his body movement. The ball? That thing’s flying into the stands, chased by the sound waves of Corey’s wounded animal bleat.” (Also receiving votes: Kevin Durant, Vince Carter, Nicolas Batum.)
Dirk Nowitzki, PF: Dirk is a do-it-all flopper. He can flop while driving, shooting, playing defense and rebounding, perhaps the most underrated facet of his flop game. Dirk may never jump higher than when he’s flying away from a rebound after a “nudge” in the back. (Also receiving votes: Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol, Tim Duncan.)
Reggie Evans, C: Evans has a reputation as one of the dirtiest players in the NBA, but don’t try any of that stuff on him. Reggie can induce whistles with the best of them, but only while doing the only things he does well on the court: setting screens, rebounding and exchanging elbows under the rim. (Also receiving votes: Marc Gasol, JaVale McGee.)
One thing you'll notice is that this list contains almost every great player in the league. That's not an accident, part of excelling in the NBA is being able to manipulate officials to benefit your team.
It's not that players are sneaky or devious, they're just pragmatic. The system won't penalize flopping and will sometimes reward it, so what's the downside?
So let's change the system. What kind of penalties for flopping would you like to see, and how would they be implemented?
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