The NBA issued Suns forward P.J. Tucker a $5,000 fine on Wednesday for his second violation of the league’s anti-flopping rules this season. In fact, it was Tucker's second flop of the week, as he was previously warned for flopping against Heat forward LeBron James just before the All-Star break.
The latest flop took place during the fourth quarter of Phoenix's 112-107 overtime victory in Denver on Tuesday. With a little less than two minutes remaining in regulation and Denver leading 96-92, Goran Dragic attempted a layup in transition. The shot missed and Tucker positioned himself for an offensive rebound as both J.J. Hickson and Kenneth Faried chased the action from behind. Both Hickson and Faried made light contact with Tucker's back and Tucker responded by letting his body go, hurtling himself towards the basket stanchion as if he had been shoved with real force.
Tucker's action resulted in a foul call on Faried and the Suns were able to rally to tie the game in regulation before going on to win in overtime. Video replays indicated that Tucker's response was inconsistent with the level of contact he absorbed from Faried.
This type of flop was specifically brought up in the NBA’s official video introducing its flopping policy. In the video, then-Hawks forward Josh Smith fell quickly to the ground while fighting for a rebound with then-Celtics forward Paul Pierce after getting pushed in the back.
“As the highlighted defensive player prepares for a potential rebound, he feels slight contact from his opponent in his back,” the narrator explains. “He then falls forward and collapses to the floor in an obvious over-embellishment. The actions of the player in the white uniform are inconsistent with the level of contact on the play and is designed to draw an unearned loose ball foul on his opponent. Again, this flop will be penalized.”
In all, 23 players have been warned for flopping this season: Chalmers, Stephenson, Harden,Brewer, Wizards guard John Wall, Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, Spurs guard Patty Mills, Bucks center Zaza Pachulia, Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, Clippers guard Chris Paul, Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao, Celtics forward Jared Sullinger, Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson, Warriors forward/center Marreese Speights, Sixers guard Tony Wroten, Bulls forward Taj Gibson, Pistons guard Brandon Jennings, Lakers guard Jodie Meeks, Celtics guard Jerryd Bayless, Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, Bucks guard Brandon Knight, and Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin.
Instituted before the 2012-13 season, the NBA’s anti-flopping system provides one free warning to players before they are subjected to a scaling set of monetary fines.
- Violation 1: Warning
- Violation 2: $5,000 fine
- Violation 3: $10,000 fine
- Violation 4: $15,000 fine
- Violation 5: $30,000 fine
- Violation 6: Subject to discipline reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension
The NBA assigned 24 flopping violations to 19 different players on 13 different teams during the 2012-13 regular season. Five players received two infractions each, earning fines totaling $25,000, with zero players getting dinged three or more times.
During the 2013 playoffs, the NBA removed the free warning and began assessing fines. Although now-former commissioner David Stern said that the league’s current policy “isn’t enough” to curb the practice, the league did not adopt any changes to the policy during the offseason.
The NBA defines flopping as “any physical act that, following review, reasonably appears to be intended to cause the game officials to call a foul on another player” with the “primary factor” in determining a flop being whether “a player’s physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact.” Tucker finished with 13 points (on 2-for-8 shooting) and 11 rebounds against the Nuggets.