Thunder players have been floppees far more than floppers, and that explains why they gleefully were in favor of the NBA's new anti-flopping rule, which takes affect this season.
“Good,” said Thunder guard James Harden, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year and one of the better penetrators in the league. “Guys can't be flopping and getting away with it anymore. It was bound to happen at some point and obviously the league got fed up with it and put it in, so I'm happy they did it.”
According to a statement released by the NBA on Wednesday: “Flopping will be defined as any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player. The primary factor in determining whether a player committed a flop is whether his physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact.
“Physical acts that constitute legitimate basketball plays (such as moving to a spot in order to draw an offensive foul) and minor physical reactions to contact will not be treated as flops.”
Thunder reserve forward Nick Collison consistently ranks among the league leaders in taking offensive charges, but he is not considered a flopper. Collison draws fouls with his superb positioning rather than by exaggerating contact.
“We'll see how it plays out,” Collison said of the new rule. “I'm not really sure how it's going to work. I think it's something the league feels like they need to do something about, but they're not sure exactly the best way to do it. I guess until I hear what the system is going to be and what exactly is going to define a flop, I don't really know exactly what to say about it. ... So I'm definitely interested, curious to see how they regulate it.”
Any player who is determined to have flopped during the regular season will be subject to the following:
Violation 1: Warning
Violation 2: $5,000 fine
Violation 3: $10,000 fine
Violation 4: $15,000 fine
Violation 5: $30,000 fine
If a player violates the anti-flopping rule six times or more, he will be subject to discipline, including an increased fine and/or suspension.
The league will later announce a separate set of penalties for flopping in the playoffs.
“Flops have no place in our game — they either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call,” NBA executive vice president/basketball operations Stu Jackson said in a statement. “Accordingly, both the Board of Governors and the Competition Committee felt strongly that any player who the league determines, following video review, to have committed a flop should — after a warning — be given an automatic penalty.”
Bulky Thunder center Kendrick Perkins consistently ranks among the league leaders in technical fouls and wouldn't dare lower himself to flopping.
“(Flopping) just takes away from the game, man,” said the 6-foot-10, 262-pound Perkins. “It's one thing to take charges and put your body in the way like Nick does for our team all the time. That's the sacrifice because a lot of guys won't sacrifice their bodies to really get hit.
“You see guys who (will) be flopping all the time and not really getting hit when you have guys who really taking hits who have bruised ribs and cracked ribs or whatever out there taking a punishment. You have guys out there flopping. It's just bad for the game. Bad for the game and I'm glad we are finally making a stand on it.”
Though Thunder players overwhelming favor the new rule, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced Wednesday it plans on filing a grievance and an unfair labor practice charge challenging the rule.
NBPA executive director Billy Hunter said in a statement: “The NBA is not permitted to unilaterally impose new economic discipline against the players without first bargaining with the union. We believe that any monetary penalty for an act of this type is inappropriate and without precedent in our sport or any other sport. We will bring appropriate legal action to challenge what is clearly a vague and arbitrary overreaction and overreach by the Commissioner's office.”