NBA Flopping: How Should the NBA Handle the Flop This Year?

Adam Waksman@@AdamWaksmanCorrespondent IIIFebruary 7, 2017

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 18:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat loses the ball during a preseason game against the Orlando Magic at AmericanAirlines Arena on December 18, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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It was reported Thursday (via ESPN) that the NBA will finally be taking some degree of action against the dreaded flop. Flopping is the act of pretending to be fouled on a clean play in order to draw an incorrect foul call.

Some of the NBA's biggest stars are notorious for flopping, including LeBron James and James Harden. Unfortunately, the reports from NBA commissioner David Stern are very vague:

If you continue to do this, you may you have to suffer some consequences. What those exactly should be and what the progression is, is to be decided... we just want to put a stake in the ground that says this is not something that we want to be part of our game.

While it is good that action is being taken for the first time in NBA history against flopping, the initial action is likely to be too weak. Stern is presumably referring to some sort of post-game fine, similar to what NFL players receive for dangerous hits. If a fine is all the penalty is, there are a few problems.


No In-Game Incentive

Penalties truly draw attention when they change the outcome of a game. In the NFL, the 15-yard penalties are arguably more effective than the fines. A reasonable approach to flops would be for a flop to be an in-game technical foul. Two flops would then result in expulsion from the game.

After LeBron James' first expulsion from a close game, you can bet players would flop less. LeBron being fined $10,000 has a lot less oomph.


Doesn't Penalize Stars

One of the biggest problem with fines in general is that stars are not penalized heavily enough. Perhaps Renaldo Balkman will now avoid flopping because he cannot afford the fines.

However, max-contract stars are still likely to flop in big games. In order to actually upset a max-contract star, a fine would have to be much larger than the NBA is likely to institute.


A First Step

The initial implementation we will see this year is analogous to the four-team playoff being added to college football. We all know that eventually it will be extended and made into something better. However, for now it makes a terrible situation less terrible.

Eventually the NBA will implement replay on flops—just as they now do with flagrant fouls—and will enforce an in-game penalty. For this year, there will be some minor fines. Players will continue to flop, but we will talk about it more and notice it more.

At the very least, it is a step in the right direction.


Adam Waksman is a featured columnist for the Bleacher Report New York Jets community. Be sure to follow Adam on Twitter to receive updates right away.