In the NBA, teams are able to use the inability of specific opponents to convert free throws as strategy to slow down the game and either catch up or pull away. This is a rule — originally labeled as “Hack-a-Shaq” — that doesn’t sit well with a number of players or teams.
Teams have successfully used this strategy against the Los Angeles Lakers and Dwight Howard and, while many were hoping that the rule could eventually be eliminated, it looks like it will be here to stay.
In what will be news of interest to both the Lakers and the Spurs, Commisioner David Stern said there still remains no interest in removing fouls away from the ball – the original “Hack-a-Shaq” – but does expect the league to revisit the idea of resting healthy players.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has used intentional fouling against Shaquille O’Neal and current Lakers center Dwight Howard, another notoriously poor free throw shooter, as a way to slow the opposing offense. League president Joel Litvin said owners and the Competition Committee felt that abolishing the strategy, which does slow games down, would be “rewarding a guy who can’t shoot free throws.”
It is hard to feel sympathy for teams and players that are abused by this rule.
You’re in the NBA. You get paid millions of dollars. So make a free shot with no one defending you. It is really that simple.
As long as players continue to be lazy and avoid the fundamentals of the game, opponents should be able to expose their weaknesses to their advantage.