Heat is on the Heat
The Miami Heat better figure out a way to defend without flopping.
OK, so that's not entirely fair to a defensive team schooled in the principles of Pat Riley. Erik Spoelstra is a terrific defensive coach and certainly can instruct his players to adjust to the league's new anti-flopping policy.
But Dwyane Wade better read the fine print closely. So should Shane Battier, who is too good a defender to resort to such tactics. LeBron James is too busy disrupting passing lanes and angling for chase-down blocked shots to spend much time flopping.
The Heat certainly will have to change their ways. If they can't, maybe they should see what Vlade Divac is doing these days.
Better have shot blockers
Teams without shot blockers, who instead attempt to defend the paint with their feet. So the Lakers (with Dwight Howard), Knicks (with Tyson Chandler) and Thunder (with Serge Ibaka) should be fine.
In fact, tighter flopping inspection likely will be more of an individual concern than a team concern. For players such as Manu Ginobili and Shane Battier, taking the charge, and embellishing the charge, has become a way of NBA life. With Ginobili and Tony Parker, it could prove to be a double-whammy for the Spurs.
And yet, stars also are among the best to adjust to rules changes. It is the second-tier defenders, the likes of Reggie Evans, who likely will find themselves hit hardest in the pocket book.
Underdogs lose teeth
If the initiative does have teeth, the teams hurt the most will be teams hoping to cobble together postseason upsets.
The Pacers and 76ers, for example, are solid playoff teams, but they're not on the Heat's level. Flopping can give overmatched teams one more weapon in their arsenals that could swing a close game in their favor.
Of course, Pacers coach Frank Vogel said before his team's playoff series last spring against the Heat that the Heat were "the biggest flopping team in the NBA."
Maybe so. Maybe not. But against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and company, flopping can be a valuable asset. Same goes for teams that face Kevin Durant's Thunder.
Cavs may be in trouble
Los Angeles Times
Is Vlade Divac still around? Actually, we might need to wait to see where Derek Fisher ends up to know definitively which team will suffer the most from the new anti-flopping rule.
As the NBA is currently constructed, Cleveland stands to be the biggest loser because of notorious floppy-haired flopper Anderson Varejao. According to a Sports Illustrated poll of players, Varejao is the league's worst flopper (Fisher, by the way, came in No. 4 and the ghost of Divac wasn't listed).
San Antonio will also feel the pain of not being able to fake pain with noted flopper Manu Ginobili (No. 2 on the list). And so will Phoenix, which was already in plenty of agony with Steve Nash having departed. Luis Scola arrives only to learn he can't fake getting fouled?