D-League to help NBA tackle flopping problem

bmurphy@idahostatesman.com © 2014 Idaho StatesmanFebruary 20, 2014 

The NBA is looking to its Development League for a potential solution to its flopping problem.

Beginning Thursday, floppers in the D-League will be assessed a technical foul. It's the latest in a string of experimental rules and changes implemented in the NBA D-League.

There's just one problem with this particular adjustment, made late in the D-League season: There isn't really a problem with flopping in the D-League.

"We haven't talked about it as a staff. It's not a concern at all," Idaho Stampede coach Michael Peck said.

The NBA instituted its anti-flopping rules before the 2012-13 season, including fines beginning with a second flopping violation. Five players were hit with a $5,000 fine for multiple violations in the first season.

This year, four players have been fined for a second offense - Miami's Mario Chalmers, Indiana's Lance Stephenson, Minnesota's Corey Brewer and Houston's James Harden. Stephenson and Harden are star players. Chalmers and Brewer are experienced veterans.

Former NBA Commissioner David Stern saw flopping - defined by the NBA as "a player's physical reaction to contact with another player that is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact" - as a real issue for the league.

And NBA players, even the best ones, have shown they're willing to try anything to gain an advantage. In the D-League, the motivation is less about pulling one over on the referees than showing scouts they're capable of helping an NBA team.

"Players are smart enough to know at this level, 'Hey, I've got to play the right way.' That stuff isn't going to help me if the scouts are watching," Peck said.

The NBA is already experimenting with shortened timeouts and the international goaltending rule in the D-League. Several D-League teams are collecting biometric data on their players to get a better understanding of the physical strain on players during games.

"The NBA D-League is the research and development laboratory for the NBA," D-League President Dan Reed said.

At least the NBA figured out a way to not slow the game down. Officials will review the flopping call at the next timeout or quarter break and, if confirmed, assign the technical at that point. Flopping calls in the final two minutes will be reviewed right away.

"If they want to put it in and test it out, that's good for them. I think they're going to start calling it just because it's the rule," Stampede forward Kevin Murphy said.

STAMPEDE TOP RED CLAWS

Idaho, with just six available players, routed Maine 122-99 at CenturyLink Arena on Wednesday. All six players scored in double figures, led by guard Dee Bost's 29 points. Murphy added 27, Derrick Caracter scored 23 and Dexter Strickland had 22 for the Stampede. Bost and Murphy played all 48 minutes.

Pierre Jackson, Idaho’s leading scorer and the top prospect in the D-League, did not suit up for the game in advance of the NBA’s trade deadline. Jackson’s rights are owned by New Orleans. Peck said it was Jackson’s decision not to play. Jackson said after the game he was not aware of any trades involving him. Stampede players Dallas Lauderdale, Kellen Thornton and E.J. Singler missed the game with injuries.

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