Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.
Hawks coaches and players applauded the NBA’s effort to eliminate flopping from their game Thursday. They admit it won’t be easy.
The NBA announced an anti-flopping rule on Wednesday with an increasing fine schedule for multiple offenders. According to the league 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.
“I think it’s needed,” Hawks guard Kyle Korver said following Thursday’s training camp practice. “It’s become too big a part of the game. I think it takes away from the purity of the game. The fear is that it ends up like European soccer where there is all kinds of flopping. Nobody wants that. It’s disgusting.”
Coach Larry Drew said the possibility of the anti-flopping rule was discussed at the coaches meeting, held in Chicago this summer. While Drew said he understands seriousness of the league’s intent, he’s not sure how successful it will be initially.
“As far as fully eliminating it, I just don’t see how that is going to work at this point,” Drew said. “They are really going to have to look at this thing very closely. Deciding what is a flop and what is not a flop, I think it’s going to be tough. I really do. They sound like it’s something they are going to be adamant about to totally eliminate it from our game. But I’m going to be curious how this whole thing works out.”
Players will be warned for a first offense. They will be fined $5,000 for a second violation, $10,000 for a third, $15,000 for a fourth and $30,000 for a fifth time offense. Six or more could lead to a suspension.
The NBA players’ association plans to file a grievance with the league office because it was not consulted about the new rule. Union executive director Billy Hunter said the league cannot institute a rule with financial discipline without it being collectively bargained. The NBA has countered that the rule is well within its rights.
“I think it’s a good idea because flopping has taken on a life of its own,” Korver said. “It’s become part of the game and it’s a shame because I think it ruins the game. I think there is a lot of gray area. I think they are going to have a hard time enforcing it. But, they are going to make their decision and we’re going to have to roll with it. We can talk bad about it all we want, but whatever they say is going to go in the end.”
Key to the rule is that flops will not be called by on-court officials. Incidents will be determined following video review by the league office. Drew said he is glad that such a call will not directly impact a game, either the outcome or the flow. The coach admitted there are players in the league who exaggerate contact much more than others.
“Shameless flopping, that’s a chump move,” the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant told Los Angeles reporters Wednesday. “We’re familiar with it. Vlade (Divac) kind of pioneered it in that playoff series against [Shaquille O’Neal], and it kind of worked for him.”
Drew said Thursday he will not coach his players any differently in light of the new rule.
“I’m going to be consistent with how I’ve coached in the past as far as defense is concerned,” Drew said. “We have to make sure when we go out there that we don’t do too much thinking about what’s going to be called – what’s going to be allowed, what’s not going to be allowed.”
In other news:
* Zaza Pachulia, Devin Harris and DeShawn Stevenson were limited practice participants Thursday. Drew said the team is continuing to be cautious with the players.
* For the third straight day, Harris stayed well after practice doing shooting drills.
* Drew said the focus from practice, for a third straight day, was defense.
* The Hawks canceled a scheduled evening practice and were on the court for a morning session that lasted well over three hours.
* Tomorrow I will have a pretty cool story on Kyle Korver’s trade adventure.
- Chris Vivlamore
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