May 22, 2016, 9:45 pm
This week’s episode of Last Week This Morning is dedicated to Jiri Welsch for no particular reason.
Flopping vs. Flinching
I’d argue that 50% (This is 100% some arbitrary, unimportant estimate) of flops aren’t actually flops in the sense that they aren’t intentional, deliberate movements made to get an advantage in the game, and of those 50% that are malicious flop attempts, only 5% have a tangible impact on the basketball game they occurred in, and of that 5%, we blow 100% of them out of proportion.
LeBron James’ ‘flop’ from Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals looked bad and it made for a funny Vine, but when something — in this case an elbow — is flying towards your face, your first instinct is to back away.
The slow-motion replays showing headshots that don’t connect, but also show a player whipping back their face are so unfair to the player involved and the viewer at home.
At 30% speed, of course the gap between how close the headshot is to players head looks wide, but again, when something, anything, is coming towards your face, or knee, or body, or anywhere for that matter, the smart move is to, you know, avoid that thing. Jumping back into flop math for a second, I’d say roughly 57% of ‘flops’ could and should be categorized under ‘I don’t want to get elbowed in the face so I will avoid that elbow thank you very much’.
I should also mention that I am a naïve NBA fan, and generally speaking, an optimist. I don’t think most NBA players would trade the minimal advantaged gained for flopping over the social punishment of being labeled a flopper. That isn’t a trade I’d make, and I don’t think it’s one many NBA players consciously make, either.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have a group of endearing floppers. Vlade Divac was certainly one of them, and I think that Manu Ginobili is in the same realm now that he’s older. I’m going to call Ginobili’s flopping a condescending ‘cute’ — as in ‘oh, that’s cute! Look at Manu go! Still flopping!’ kind of way.
People laugh at Ginobili because he’s rather transparent about his flopping, which is another reason why I just don’t think flopping is that big of a deal in the NBA. If a players’ ability or penchant to flop is in any way endearing, I cannot take that action seriously as a major, league-wide issue.
NBA officiating is mostly atrocious and while real, rare flop attempts make their job harder, most bad calls have nothing to do with flopping or flop attempts.
I hate flopping way, way less than I hate hearing people cry about flopping. It should be penalized, it should be fined, and players shouldn’t do it when they do, but I certainly feel as though we, as basketball lovers, make it into a much bigger story than it deserves.
I guess I just like talking about coaching.
Anyway, I’m stealing this point from The Cauldron co-founder and basketball author Andy Glockner. And because I want to give myself SOME credit — I had a similar thought BEFORE I read his perfectly worded tweet, so there!
For all the talk about coaching turnover and how unstable coaching jobs are in the NBA, and how meddling ownership can be, it feels like the NBA has really upgraded their coaching stable this offseason. I don’t like when we use old narratives to judge present decisions. For example, the story this offseason shouldn’t be ‘look at all these coaches that were fired, the NBA has a stability problem’. It should be ‘look at all these teams who made coaching upgrades, the NBA got it right this time’.
Of course on some level this is too early to judge, but if I’m to speculate all of these hires made sense, and most of the firings made even more sense. Expect a smarter NBA next season.
Attending The NBA Draft
Personal anecdote time!
I have a bucket list of non-game related NBA events to attend, the NBA Draft is on it and I might be crossing that one off this year.
First of all, it’s cheap. Like, way cheaper than I thought. It’s also in Brooklyn, which is about three hours from Boston, so, manageable distance. There is something about hanging out in a city like Brooklyn at a time when it will be crawling with NBA people that I find incredibly appealing.
Here is some parting life advice – something always happens. I don’t have a good reason for wanting to attend the NBA Draft, I don’t have a goal, a plan, a strategy, etc. But again, something always happens. Go to things, go to things often – explore, take risks, take chances, have fun, peace and love, peace and love.
If I go, I’ll have stories, and those stories will appear here!
PS. Danny Ainge, if you’re reading this – Chipotle lunch on me if I see you in Brooklyn.