Commissioner Adam Silver vowed during the NBA playoffs that changes were coming to discourage defenders from intentionally fouling poor free throw shooters. The Board of Governors approved some new rules this month in that regard, though it seems to be a watered-down compromise.
Under the new rules, if a player is fouled away from the ball in the last two minutes of a quarter, his team will receive one free throw and retain possession of the ball. That rule has been expanded to a player being fouled during an inbounds play.
Previously, the free-throw-plus-possession rule only applied to the last two minutes of the fourth quarter.
The Board also expanded its rules on flagrant fouls to include deliberate, overaggressive fouls such as jumping on the back of an opponent during a free throw attempt. That tactic was sometimes used during the last two minutes of games once the free-throw-plus-possession stipulation was in effect.
These changes might make it a little less appealing to intentionally foul but it’s certain that poor free throw shooters such as Andre Drummond, Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan will continue to get grabbed off the ball before the last two minutes of a quarter. Anybody hoping to see “Hack-A-Dre” and “Hack-A-Dwight” go away will be disappointed.
It’s also difficult for their coaches to leave them in the game during the final two minutes, knowing those big men could be grabbed during pick-and-roll plays or while going for an offensive rebound, which wouldn’t be considered an “away from the ball” foul.
The league could have, for example, given teams the option to decline free throws and simply retain possession on intentional fouls, or even provide the option of having a better free throw shooter go to the line in those situations.
Some executives, such as Pistons coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy, believe the new rules won’t have much of an effect. Others, such as Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, believe the league shouldn’t be doing anything to discourage “Hack-A” strategies.
This leads us to our question of the day: Did the new rules changes regarding intentional fouls go too far or should the league have done more to prevent the “Hack-A” tactic?
Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the topic. We look forward to what you have to say.