So in case you haven't heard by now, the NBA is instituting new anti-flopping rules. Here are the details.
"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. The primary factor in determining whether a player committed a flop is whether his physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact. Physical acts that constitute legitimate basketball plays (such as moving to a spot in order to draw an offensive foul) and minor physical reactions to contact will not be treated as flops.
Floppers get a warning and then increasing fees for each offense, but the amounts aren't enough to make an NBA player sneeze. So apparently the deterrent is more in the shame than the fine.
Still, the idea is reasonably clear. Flopping is bad. Fans hate it, players hate it, refs absolutely hate it, and while the fine isn’t a financial backbreaker, the stigma associated with being known as a serial flopper could be even more of a deterrent than whatever "reasonable" punishment awaits after that fifth violation.
Will it work? Unlikely. The rules are vague and the enforcement of it will likely be uneven.
The difficulty here is in figuring what the NBA has to gain from this particular system. Henry Abbott of TrueHoop has smartly pointed out that the existence of these penalties will at least curb the embarrassment that flopping brings to the league, but it also won't embarrass particular floppers. So, in all likelihood, these flopping rules will help show that the NBA cares about the issue without really doing much to curb the practice. It's a public relations move, first and foremost.
At the end of the day, it will likely be the latest in a long line of rules that the league promises to crack down on in preseason that is forgotten about halfway through the year. Like the year when they were going to really crack down on the complaining to refs. How'd that work out?