This a video of Red Auerbach explaining what flops are and why they are terrible…in the 1970′s. [Ed note: Auerbach was the original flop-hater]
He was trying to nip this BS in the bud.
However, despite his best efforts he obviously failed in his efforts to keep out the fake fouls.
The fact that LeBron James had never fouled out of a playoff game before this past game 4 against the Celtics is unbelievable. Not unbelievable as in it’s an incredible feat. Unbelievable in the literal sense in that it should be impossible to play in 107 playoff games prior to game 4, average 43 minutes a game, and never pick up 6 fouls.
Some more unbelievable numbers: In 108 career playoff games, Lebron has been called for just 260 fouls, an average of 2.4 per game. Over that same time he has taken 1118 free throws, an average of 10.3 per game, or essentially drawing five shooting fouls per game.*
Now before you say it’s just a result of Lebron being bigger, stronger, and faster than everyone else and the fact the The Miami Heat’s strategy seems to be to dribble around for 15 seconds before driving to the hoop and flailing around looking for calls, let’s do some comparisons.
Shaquille O’Neal, in 216 career playoff games, attempted 2317 free throws, an average of 10.7 per game. Similar to Lebron’s average, even though Shaq was literally unstoppable in his prime and his awful free throw shooting made “hack-a-Shaq” a legit strategy on defense. Shaq also was called for an average of 3.6 personal fouls per game.
Now let’s take a look at Shaq’s former running mate Kobe Bryant: 220 games, 1617 free throws, 7.4 fts per game. 3 personal fouls per game.
And how about Michael Jordon? 179 games, 1766 free throws, 9.8 fts per game and 3 personal fouls per game.
So what we learned is Lebron is getting fouled at a pretty incredible rate, especially considering he isn’t such a bad free-throw shooter, you’d expect teams would be purposely doing it. And he is getting called for fouls at an unbelievably low rate.
“Let’s not hurt the game,” barks Auerbach at the end of his tutorial, which is really some advice that David Stern should take to heart. When game stories become about the refs, flopping and superstars getting the calls, you’re doing something wrong.
*Stats in this post do not reflect Game 5 of the Heat Celtics series
Also, to apologize for the number heavy, humor light post, here is solidly entertaining and funny parody of Niggas in Paris called Flop So Hard. It makes fun of flopping in the NBA. Get it?