By Ben Golliver
The NBA officially warned Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio for violating its anti-flopping policy on Saturday.
Rubio's flop occurred with less than one minute remaining in a 101-93 defeat of the Thunder in Minnesota on March 29. Kevin Durant drove by Rubio to the left at the top of the key, and Rubio flailed backwards as if Durant had cleared him off using his right arm. Rubio spun to the ground to exaggerate the contact but replays indicated that Durant didn't extend his arm, making Rubio's embellishment and reaction look inappropriate for the level of contact between the two players. No foul was called on the play.
This type of flop was specifically called out in the NBA’s official video introducing its flopping policy. In the video, Clippers guard Chris Paul was called out for trying to sell a charge in a similar manner.
“As the highlighted defensive player, No. 3 in the red uniform, defends the driving offensive player, he feels slight contact and then launches himself back to the floor,” the video’s narrator explained. “This reaction by the defensive player is an over-embellishment of marginal contact and is intended to draw an unearned offensive foul on his opponent.”
Rubio becomes the 18th player to be warned this season, joining Bucks guard J.J. Redick, Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari, Paul, Kings guard Tyreke Evans, Nuggets forward Corey Brewer, Spurs guard Tony Parker, Sixers guard Royal Ivey, Bucks center Gustavo Ayon, Rockets center Omer Asik, Hawks center Zaza Pachulia, Clippers guard Chauncey Billups, Nets forward Gerald Wallace, Kings forward Patrick Patterson, Nets forward Reggie Evans, Thunder guard Kevin Martin, Timberwolves guard J.J. Barea and Cavaliers guard Donald Sloan.
Rubio will now be subject to fines if he violates the policy again. The sliding fine scale looks like this.
Violation 2: $5,000 fine
Violation 3: $10,000 fine
Violation 4: $15,000 fine
Violation 5: $30,000 fine
For a sixth (or any subsequent) violation of the rule, the player will be subject to such discipline as the League determines is reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension.
Rubio, 22, is averaging 10.6 points, 7.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game for the Timberwolves. He is on the books for $3.7 million this season.
Video via YouTube user theassociation | Hat tip: ProBasketballTalk