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A Response (Quickly) to Chris Paul Flopping Allegations

I think Chris Paul sells foul calls as much as anyone in the league. Easily. How often have we seen him stop in transition, have a trailing defender run into him, and Paul sprawl out on the floor? How frequently do we see him shoot out backwards when a big hedges too hard on a screen?

At the end of the day, though, what Chris Paul does is hardly different from what so many elite NBA players do. We've all seen Paul Pierce pump fake, watch his defender fail to bite, and lean in to his defender anyway while wildly launching an awful shot. Chauncey Billups and Derek Fisher are two prominent perpetrators of that "move" as well. Kevin Durant's "rip" move (where he intentionally tries to get his arms tangled up with a defender before chucking a prayer at the hoop) falls under the same category- creating and selling dubious contact. Tim Duncan goes often for that move as well. And what of Kobe Bryant's propensity to yell like he just got shot on completely untouched forays to the rim?

The point is that elite NBA players do what they can to help their teams win. They stretch the boundaries of the rules. Getting morally outraged about it is silly, and it's why I found Royce Young's tirade against Chris Paul and the Hornets a little disappointing. And I bring this up only because I respect Young and his work. I really do. He's one of the best NBA writers on the internets, and there's a reason you can find his work in so many places. 

He's fully entitled to his opinion that "only a select few players [flop]." Two things irked me aside from that. The first was his his closing comment on his game recap: "On their big night where they met their stupid attendance benchmark because a bunch of local business bought tickets instead of actual fans actually buying tickets." Really? "Their stupid attendance benchmark"? The second was the video he posted this morning, supposedly showing various Chris Paul flops from last night. 

Included in the reel are CP's trademark "slow in transition" and "draw the foul on the hedge." Also included though is a play where Paul attempts to draw a charge on Russell Westbrook. He's in position, until Westbrook deftly changes direction at the last second to swerve around Paul. CP tries to draw the charge anyways, but he's way out of position due to Westbrook's nifty move. I find it relatively unbelievable that Young has never seen another player do this, as it's an extremely routine occurrence. Players often try to set their feet only to have the ball handler switch direction and make contact with the defender at a different angle than anticipated. The defender falls because that's... how you take a charge. On that particular play, Westbrook beat Paul, the refs saw that Paul had been taken out of position by Westbrook, and that was that. Calling it clear evidence of Paul flopping is pretty rich. 

And the final clip in the Paul "flopping" video? Kevin Durant clearly elbowing Paul square in the chest, frustrated with CP's defense on him? Flop. Totally.

Look, we can get into an endless debate about how "floppy" a flop was. And that's dumb. I'm far more concerned about Young's no-questions-asked casting of a player as a flopper on the evidence of some 50-50 videos, while casually dismissing Durant's rip move and simultaneously calling out Paul's "stupid" fans.