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Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 8/11/15

One of the more divisive on court strategies utilized in the NBA is the increasingly commonplace “Hack-a-Shaq” defense, where teams intentionally foul opponents’ weaker free throw shooters down the stretch of close games. The debate over whether this strategy should be outlawed was renewed during this year’s first round playoff series between the Spurs and the Clippers, courtesy of San Antonio, when Clippers center DeAndre Jordan was a wholesale target of the practice. Needless to say, it slowed the games to a crawl at times and made for less than compelling theater.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged back in May that the league had considered a number of rule changes to discourage this practice. “It’s something that I’m on the fence about,” Silver had said. “My thought used to be that we should definitely change the rule, and then having sat through several general managers meetings, competition meetings and having heard from some of the game’s very best, the view is the players should hit their free throws. That’s changed my view a little bit. Having said that, when I watch some of these games on television, frankly, it’s not great entertainment for our fans, and that’s important as well.

It doesn’t appear that there will be any changes made regarding the hack-a-(insert player name) defense for the 2015/16 campaign, with former NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson saying, “We had a pretty spirited discussion on the subject, and we talked prospectively about how we might change it. But in the end, there wasn’t enough support to change it. There was a feeling that by changing the rule you would be essentially rewarding a player for a lack of skill by allowing him to stay in the game.

Some ideas that have been kicked around to fix this aspect of the game include:

  1. When a player is intentionally fouled he not only gets the allotted free throws, but his team also gets possession of the ball.
  2. Creating a “super bonus” situation where extra free throws are given after a team commits a predetermined amount of fouls in a quarter.
  3. Teams being allowed to retain possession and inbound the ball instead of taking free throws when they’re intentionally fouled.
  4. Allowing the team receiving the free throws to pick the player who gets to shoot them.

None of these changes seem like the perfect solution, and could also serve to disrupt the pacing of the game. There is also the traditionalist point of view that asserts that professional players making millions of dollars ought to be able to sink their attempts from the charity stripe. This brings me to the topic of the day: Should the NBA alter its rules regarding the “Hack-a-Shaq” defense? If so, then what changes need to be made?

Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts, opinions, ideas…and potential fixes (if you believe the rule needs to be altered). Being mindful of our commenting policy, let us know what you think the NBA should do. We look forward to what you have to say!

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14 thoughts on “Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 8/11/15

  1. Chuck Myron

    How about having players who are fouled attempt only one free throw for two points instead of two free throws for one point each? That would speed up the game. Then, if a player is intentionally fouled, or fouled while attempting a three-pointer, he would shoot a free throw for three points. I think that would clean up Hack-a-Shaq pretty quickly.

  2. Jack Luft

    If a player is fouled in possession of the ball he shoots free throws. If in the last 6 minutes of the fourth quarter a player not in possession of the ball is fouled then the player who has possession at that time shoots the free throws. This puts a premium on the ability of a team to inbound and pass the ball to a good free throw shooter, which they do most of the time anyway. But to allow an opponent to deliberately seek out a weak free throw shooter who is not close to or involved in the ball movement or play and grab them to provoke a foul is a blatant abuse of the principle of having to guard the ball and is just as bad as giving a weak free throw shooter a pass on a basic skill that is an important part of the game.

  3. Z.....


  4. Clark

    I like the allowing the team that’s shooting the free throws pick who shoots them. Should stop it immediately. Perfect ex Spurs clippers, Spurs foul Jordan clippers choose Paul to shoot them Spurs don’t foul anymore knowing a guy who makes 90% of free throws will be shooting them.
    Some people might say that’s not fair, I say it’s not fair to the team getting hacked and the fans if it stays the way it is

  5. Jim213

    Blah blah blah, this can easily be solved (time wise) by disallowing/banning intentional (hack a shaq) fouls for the first 3 qtrs to keep the pace of the game steady. Allow it during the 4th qtr and ban it come the 3 minute mark as opposed to the 2 minute.

  6. soul

    As a purist, option 3 is the only one that doesn’t make my stomach turn. I think players should practice their free throws.

    But I also see the argument for letting a team give up the right to shoot free throws and allowing them to take the ball out of bounds as they do when they’re not in the bonus.That penalizes a team for fouling while keeping the game from turning into a free throw shooting contest. The less free throws, the better.

  7. Z.....

    Why is this even a discussion? Make your free throws. Stop complaining

    • Z.....

      They’re literally free points….if you make those free throws, they eventually stop fouling intentionally

      • soul

        parsimony always wins

  8. Jeremy

    Very easy fix.. if the ref determines the foul is intentional off the ball (hack a shaq) the team fouled gets to pick who shoots the free throws a la a tech. Pretty simple IMO

  9. Mike Higgins

    Making a free throw is a fundamental skill, and shouldn’t be considered a “bonus” to a player’s skill-set. It’s a deficiency. However, the NBA is about entertainment, and while the hacking strategy is effective it’s not entertaining. To level the playing field the rules should be modified to state that a non-basketball foul away from the ball is a technical foul, not a personal foul. The fouled team is still shooting, but they get to pick the shooter and get the ball back. The flip-side is the team fouling risks a crunchtime player’s ejection.

  10. smittybanton

    Make your free throws or get off the floor.

    • bernaldo

      I agree. If a team doesn’t want a bad free throw shooter on the floor in crunch time, take him out. I have also read that players can improve their free throw shooting if the work at it and practice diligently. It was said that is a skill that can be coached so that a mediocre shooter can consistently make 2/3 of your free throws instead of half of them.

  11. Butch Lopez

    Keep it the same, otherwise stars will never have to improve their free-throw shooting.

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