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Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround: 12/21/15

In any game that involves DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond or Dwight Howard, the threat is always there. No, we’re not talking about those centers posting a 20-20 game. We’re talking about opposing coaches employing the “Hack-A-Dre” or “Hack-A-Dwight” strategy.

The tactic is occasionally used as a means to play catchup. Drummond and Jordan are the league’s worst free throw shooters, with both under 40%. Howard is making his free throws at a 51.8% rate, fourth worst among all qualifiers.

Last season’s otherwise highly entertaining Western Conference playoffs sometimes slowed to a crawl, with Jordan and Howard being grabbed off the ball for multiple possessions. That led to a fierce debate about whether the league should change its rules regarding intentional fouls off the ball.

Currently, teams can employ the tactic of sending a poor free throw shooter to the line during the first 10 minutes of a quarter. After that, it results in not only free throws but also possession.

Last week, Clippers coach Doc Rivers not only employed the “Hack-A-Dwight” tactic but also intentionally fouled his frontcourt partner Clint Capela. We’ve also seen the strategy used against the league’s poorest foul-shooting guard, Rajon Rondo.

The argument to change the rule is to preserve the entertainment value of the game. No one buys a ticket to see a bad free throw shooter go to the line 15-20 times.

Those in the favor of the status quo believe it’s up to the poor free throw shooters to improve their game, so that opposing coaches won’t be so eager to order their players to foul them.

This leads us to our question of the day: Should the league change the rules regarding intentional fouls off the ball in order to remove “Hack-A” tactics?

Please take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the subject. We look forward to what you have to say.

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30 thoughts on “Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround: 12/21/15

  1. The NBA needs to remove this strategy from the game. It’s not competition; it’s like running a foot race and grabbing the shirt of the guy in front of you and holding him back. I get that there are strategic advantages to it, but it has nothing to do with the game of basketball. Are scouts going to have to start eliminating prospects from draft boards because they don’t shoot above 70% at the line?

    • Lonnie

      A player needs to shoot less than 54% for the hack a strategy to make sense mathematically

      • Totally, but say there’s a team in the future with no one shooting under 70% from the line (random example). If this rule still exists, teams can still take their chances by hacking the guy who’s hovering around, say, 72%. It may not be the best option, but it’s still available if its not prohibited. I feel like a game should not come down to that, but I suppose that’s strictly a matter of opinion.

        • aka first step

          You only have to hit 54% for it not to be effective. Meaning most teams score about 1.33 points per possession. If that strategy no longer works because they are losing a base average of points because they aren’t getting hacked then it should just stop. What you stated above is called a false causality.

  2. Austin

    it should be changed. I know the people apposed to the change will say “just make the free throws” but it is forcing these teams to take out one of their best players from the game which isn’t good for the league or the team.

    • aka first step

      He’s not one of their best players if he can’t play an integral part of the game. Shoot the ball from 15ft with nobody guarding you. Changing the game because they “can’t do it” is the lamest excuse for a rule change I have ever heard.

  3. Arthur Hill

    The league has made several rules changes to make its games more watchable.

  4. Arthur Hill

    The league has made several rules changes to make its games more watchable. The “just make your free throws” argument could be applied to the three-second rule or the 24-second clock. Why can’t bigger teams be allowed to have their players in the lane 10 or 15 seconds? Lesser talented teams would benefit from holding the ball for a minute or two on every possession; why not let them?
    Because it would be an uglier game, less exciting and less watchable. The “hack-a” strategy makes for terrible basketball, especially in the playoffs when it’s used more often, and teams are starting to find creative ways to foul who they want in the last two minutes. The league needs to fix the rule now.

  5. Shaq worked on his free throw shooting to prevent teams abusing the intentional fouling. He ended up with a career FT% over 50%.

    Yeah, intentional fouling slows down the game, makes it boring to watch and such. But, the league shouldn’t pamper you because you can’t make free throws at least half of the times you go to the line. Then, what’s the point of taking advantage of you opponent’s weakness if you’re not going to get a benefit out of it?

    People say “the league should fix this rule”. I ask, how would you fix it? What do you propose?

    • After a team goes into the bonus, allow the team the choice to either in bounds the ball or shoot free throws…. its a pretty easy fix. Its what they would do if they werent in the bonus, so teams shouldn’t be penalized for their hard play to get into the BONUS.

  6. Tebucky

    No. Those bums should make their free throws like every other player in the league

  7. Jaxson

    Make your free throws and teams will stop using it. The only people to blame on the situation are the players w the anemic free throw percentages!

  8. Dwight Schrute

    How about the fouled team has the option of foul shots or a side out?
    To some extent it’s really up to deandre to learn to shoot free throws.
    The continued fouling makes the game hard to watch

    • EXACTLY, you’re the first person, besides myself, that i’ve seen actually suggest this… and it works…

  9. Lonnie

    The rules should not protect terrible free throw shooters. If anyone can think of a way to remove the Hack a X strategy without artificially helping terrible free throw shooters, I’m all ears.

  10. Z.....

    No. Make your free throws. If you cant, then get taken out of the game. It’s part of the game. I’m surprised we don’t see even more fouling of certain players. Personally, I’ve wondered why nobody has tried it against Golden State. I’d foul Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezili and make them make their free throws. It would also slow down the game against them

  11. Z.....

    Look at Karl Malone and Tim Duncan. They were terrible at the line, and they improved. Practice free throws, and not with head phones on. That’s not practicing game situations. Some of these guys can make them in practice and have a hard time bringing it into the game. It’s about repetition and muscle memory, and focus

  12. Dana Gauruder

    This topic is obviously a hot-button issue for many fans, regardless of which side they’re on.

  13. JumpShot

    No way should they change this rule! If DeAndre’ Jordan is allowed to block shots and dunk in the fourth quarter (or ANY quarter), than you should be allowed to foul him and put him on the line, too! Its assinine to even consider changing the rules because a handful of guys cant make free-throws. If a guy is a great shooter but slow-afoot, should we not be able to ISO him repeatedly in the 4th quarter since he’s a weak defender? Smh…work on weaknesses and make free-throws!

  14. Chuck Myron

    No reason to gum up the game just to prove a point about shooting technique. Get rid of this intentional fouling.

  15. So wait… someone explain to me… why doesn’t the player with the ball when an off-the-ball foul is committed have the option / get forced to take the free throw? I don’t understand what logic makes it such that the ball is taken out of his possession. I mean if the case were that the player with the ball took the free throws, it would be a lot harder to Hack-A-Dre… since the Clippers could just play around it and set him up for an ez dunk / alley oop with an and 1 if they foul. I could see a scenario where a bad shooter may end up taking free throws with an off-the-ball foul, but these would most likely never be intentional.

  16. Dahlsim

    Free throw shooting has always been part of the game. Protecting a terrible free throw shooter changes the game itself by making a bad free throw shooter a more effective player while penalizing guys that are good free throw shooters by lessening its importance.

    If a guy can’t shoot free throws well enough to deter that strategy then his team already has an option. SIT HIM DOWN. That will preserve the ‘entertainment value’. If they don’t sit him down then that’s chess match and fans should enjoy the strategy just like they do when baseball players bunt or football player spike the ball to kill a play or any other number of “boring” strategies.

  17. When the ball is moving up court and way back on the play the big guy is getting hacked intentionally it stops the flow and out come of the play this should be deemed an intentional foul so call it that way. Away from the play an said hackee not involved should be deemed intentional it’s not that hard.

  18. Jordan

    Just make your damn free throws… NBA players get paid to play basketball which includes making free throws.. Even if the league changes rules there’s always going to be a way around it. NBA shouldn’t change rules to accomodate terrible free throw shooters when that’s there job.

  19. Maybe baseball shouldn’t allow pitchers to throw breaking balls to players who can’t hit them. This is a dumb debate. Make your FREE throws.

  20. Chris Crouse

    It’s gamesmanship. Free throws are part of the game and if you can’t shoot them, you are less valuable. Teams with the DeAndre-Dwight type players who can’t shoot should take them off the court in crunch time. I’d argue that teams should make this a bigger factor when they sign these players.

  21. Teams should not be penalized for entering the BONUS. After a team goes into the bonus they should be given the option of taking the ball out of bounds or shooting the free throw. If the intentional foul was made before a team was in the BONUS, they’d just take it out. Thats how it should be treated.. no one would be given an ‘edge’.

    • Z.....

      Except for the team getting rewarded by having a free throw liability on the floor.

  22. Joe Love

    It’s ridiculous. These guys are being paid millions to put a ball through a hoop. Make your free throws! I agree with the sentiment regarding any weakness. There is as much sense in saying any three point shooter over 45% should only be credited with two points because it’s allowing teams full of good shooters to win too easily.
    The hand size argument holds no weight either; Leonard and Antetekounmpo are managing well enough.
    All these guys have to do is play ball, all day every day, work on your damn free throws!
    Much more prescient for the league is the need to move the bloody photographers from the baseline. Every game I watch there is a huge athlete screeching to a halt to avoid a horrible collision with them.
    Have less games in the schedule, move the press, stop singing the national anthem at every game, stop playing annoying music during the game, eradicate the officials time out, fine the Clippers for complaining so much.
    Don’t give technicals for after-dunk/block taunting.
    These things are all I want for Christmas.

  23. Dana Gauruder

    Good arguments on both sides. Personally, I look at it from the standpoint of entertainment. It’s just awful watching teams intentionally fouling Howard, Drummond, Jordan, etc. and seeing a parade of free throws. It kills the flow of the game and when fans are shelling out big bucks, it’s not good for business.

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