The NBA’s general managers held their annual meeting in Chicago today, and one of the topics discussed was the intentional fouling of bad free throwers, known as Hack-A-Shaq or Hack-A-[Insert Terrible Free Thrower]. CBS’s Ken Berger reports that there was “no overwhelming consensus” from executives at the meeting to change the rules to eliminate Hack-A-Shaq. Berger quotes one meeting participant who said the perception that it is a problem is bigger than reality.
Berger also got his hands on some of the data shared at the meeting, and it is pretty interesting:
76 percent of the intentional fouls this season — regular season and playoffs — have been committed against five players: DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Joey Dorsey and Andre Drummond.
Jordan, the Clippers’ center who has been hacked into the next century through the first two rounds of the playoffs, has accounted for about half of all intentional fouls this season, according to the league data.
Once upon a time the strategy was only used against Shaq, who was so dominant in the low post that forcing him to go to the free throw line was one of the better defenses against him. But in 2015 there are a number of very good centers—the aforementioned Jordan, Howard, Drummond—who are terrible at shooting free throws, and thus the strategy pops up more frequently. It has been especially prominent this postseason, as the Spurs frequently hacked DeAndre Jordan in the first round, and the second round series between the Clippers and Rockets has been marred by the dual hacking of Jordan and Howard.
This doesn’t mean that the rules won’t be changed. It’s the competition committee—which is made up of a few each of owners, general managers, coaches, and players—that recommends rule changes to the Board of Governors, not the general managers committee. But it is indicative of the fact that, as much bitching about hacking you may see on twitter and blogs, the NBA doesn’t view it as nearly as big of a problem.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo via Danny Moloshok/AP