There are several degrees and varities of flops.
James Harden and Chris Paul are the masters of the snap-back flop, jerking their heads back at the slightest touch to sell the contact to the referee. Manu Ginobili is great at selling body contact, sending himself flying after an inadvertent elbow or crashing to the floor after running into a defender’s legs. It’s frustrating, to be sure, and at times maddening to watch.
But we have to be careful about how we talk about flops. The discourse is starting to shift to where “flop” means a player didn’t get touched at all. He didn’t exaggerate the contact, he flat-out made it up. This isn’t necessarily true.
Take this Draymond Green/Ryan Anderson incident, for example. At first glance, this looked like a flop of the highest and most egregious order. Ryan Anderson simply moved his elbows from one side to the other in front of Green’s face, so Green chose to flail to the ground to make it look as if Anderson had made contact. We’ve seen these flops many times before.
Upon further inspection, though, it turns out Green wasn’t acting quite as much as it originally appeared. Anderson’s elbow does indeed make contact with Green’s chin. Is it more than a glancing blow? Is it enough to send a person as strong and tough as Green flying to the floor? Probably not. But more than air passed between Anderson’s elbows. It was still a flop – he still exaggerated the harm caused by the contact to an extreme degree, and it probably didn’t deserve a foul call, but in the hierarchy of flops, it fails to surpass what Green’s teammate, Harrison Barnes, pulled off in the same game.
For shame, Harrison.