NBL fans are a passionate bunch. They love to disagree, but if there’s one issue that unites them it’s a collective disdain for flopping in our game.
I’ve always coached my teams to play hard and to play physical. Flopping is something I’ve never condoned. I hate it, it’s nothing short of cheating.
I think it’s a mentality most coaches share but it’s clearly becoming more and more common in our league.
There’s been a lot of discussion around referees this season and there’s absolutely no question that they have an incredibly difficult job.
The talent in the league is at an all-time high and they need to be mentally and physically on song for an entire game. There’s no subbing out like there is for players.
The last thing they need is to be asked to make even more decisions. The hardest decision to make in the game is the block-charge call. It’s a split-second call they make on the spot.
Now with players flopping, we’re asking them to make a third decision on the fly. They’re supposed to get into a player’s head and determine whether he’s intentionally hit the floor.
It’s giving them another decision to make on top of what’s already the toughest rule to interpret. Throw in interpretations around other unsportsmanlike fouls and things get even murkier.
There can be big consequences when referees get them wrong. In our last game against Adelaide Tim Coenraad picked up a questionable technical early in the game.
You can cop that but later in the game he got a shoulder planted in his chest and went down. When you’ve got professional athletes going flat-flat chat at each other, sometimes players are going to hit the floor.
It’s not necessarily a flop but, under the current system, they have to make a call on whether it was or wasn’t. They deemed it a flop and he was ejected. Luckily we had the game well in hand at that point but, in different circumstances, it could have been far more costly.
The rule is in place to eradicate flopping but it’s actually having the opposite effect. I think the solution is pretty simple – let them flop.
If a player wants to flop, leave him on the ground. It makes it a five on four situation and it’s a disadvantage to the defensive team.
If you remove the obligation on referees to make that call, you remove the incentive for players to do it. Players cotton on pretty quickly. If they’re not being rewarded for it they’ll stop doing it and we’ll get a physical, honest game of basketball.
That’s what all rules in our game should be aimed at bringing about rather than encouraging players to manipulate referees into making potentially bad decisions.
That not what we play and coach the game for and it’s not what fans pay their money to come and see.