Over the last two seasons, NBA teams have begun exploiting the league’s worst free throw shooters. ‘Hack-a-Drummond’, ‘Hack-a-Jordan’, and ‘Hack-a-Dwight’ have become more and more of a focal point for opposing coaches. Recently, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that he & the league would overview the situation and take action to change it. “I don’t really see a problem with it,” James said Friday, seeing intentional fouling as a way to gain a competitive advantage. Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban feels the same way.
ESPN has counted 266 hack-a-player instances to date, exceeding the 164 that they counted last season. For Silver, he believes that the hack-a-player strategy is not good for the league, and is deterring casual fans from watching. It also contradicts everything the league has done to speed up games, as it stops the game clock and can add anywhere from 5-10 minutes of stoppage time.
Cuban, however, thinks that hack-a-player has the chance to engage the fans even more, “Does he make the free throws? If he makes one or two, will they do it again? Did the strategy work?” Cuban said.
If there were to be a rule change, the NBA would be changing it for only a handful of guys. It is cumbersome to watch at times, but it does an excellent job illustrating the importance of free throws.
The short-term solution to this whole situation is that the NBA is going to institute the “one-and-one” rule that appears in college and high school games.
If the NBA wants something done for the long term, it’ll have to be the players getting in the gym, working with their shooting coaches, and practicing their free throws. If the poor shooters bring their percentage up to 60ish, it’ll neutralize the strategy.
*Data courtesy of Basketball-Reference*
*Photo Credit: Jerome Miron / USA TODAY Sports”