Jimmy Goldstein fixed the flopping problem in his NBA.com piece: “Last season, the NBA tried to discourage flopping by fining players. As Commissioner David Stern acknowledged, it didn’t work. Therefore, I would propose another approach to stop the flop. The rule should be changed so any time that a defensive player falls flat on his back immediately upon contact from an offensive player, the officials will not call any foul. This rule will eliminate any motivation for the defensive player to deliberately fall down when contact is made. Those opposed to my proposal will suggest that this is not fair to the defensive player who can’t stop himself from falling on his back after being run over by (say) LeBron James. My answer is that the defensive player will make every effort to keep his balance so that a foul will be called. And if he staggers before falling, the official will be allowed to call the foul. The offensive player will be afraid to run over the defensive player because the offensive player will be called for a foul so long as the defensive player holds his balance for a split second before falling (or doesn’t fall flat on his back).”
I like Kelly Dwyer’s take on this too: “Rather, the problem here is that the league has created an incentive-based system that rewards players for tucking in either underneath an airborne player, or anticipating a spot to stand in as the player drives. Referees call every bit of contact, regardless of whether they whistle a block or a charge. Because players have become smarter defensively, and because they’ve worked in this incentive program for so long, more often than not the contact results in a charge call. As opposed to actual entertaining things. Like an attempted block, or steal, or actual east/west movement from a defender moving his feet. Or a play that isn’t stopped by a whistle. You can’t blame players for this, because they’re intelligently gaming the system (while risking their careers along the way as they set up in front of that runaway locomotive). You can’t blame coaches for this, because they’re asking their player to do something defensively that has proven to be far more likely to result in a stop than an attempt at a blocked shot. And you genuinely can’t blame referees for this, because while this block/charge madness absolutely ruins huge chunks of an NBA game at times, all they’re doing is signing off on what the league office has asked them to do. Which is call damn near everything.”
David Thorpe of ESPN Insider on how to beat the Heat, part two: “The Oklahoma City Thunder feature two players who best rival Miami’s pair of James and Dwyane Wade for the best perimeter duo in the league. Kevin Durant likely is the game’s second-best player, but in a series against the Heat it is possible that he could emerge as the top dog. Durant now often swings to the power spot, like James does, and Durant’s scoring talents alone could be the difference in a title matchup. Just because the Thunder fell short two seasons ago does not mean they will again in the future. Russell Westbrook’s relentless attacking style creates openings for Durant when defenders help, which could prove to be very successful in a Miami series. Westbrook also can pulverize Miami’s guards on the glass and in the half-court game while pushing the ball hard up the court after every Miami miss. James simply cannot defend both Durant and Westbrook, and each is better than anyone else Miami has to defend them. However, would Miami offer OKC defensive looks similar to what the Spurs presented to the Heat? Meaning, don’t guard anyone (other than Durant), and hope Westbrook just keeps shooting at the expense of anyone else finding their rhythm? It’s ironic, and it’s also possible.”
KD took a helicopter ride in Paris yesterday. Rough life.
The Suns waived Michael Beasley. Before you ask: No. Just no.
Henry Abbott of TrueHoop on tanking: “It casts a shadow over the NBA schedule. Maybe a third of the games feature at least one team that no doubt has players and coaches who are dying to win, but who have been intentionally handicapped by front offices that value losses. I don’t know who’ll win that Grizzlies versus Sixers contest, but I know the Grizzlies — all of them, from the point guard to the president — want to. Meanwhile, we could, quite simply, with a wave of the hand from the NBA Board of Governors, have a league where all 1,230 games feature two organizations with all the naked competitive ambition of the sprinters in that video. That’s what we’re exploring. Why can’t we have that?”