The Hack-a-Shaq strategy that has drawn the displeasure from fans, players, coaches and league representatives in the NBA is still going strong. It may not be used as blatantly as it has in the past with poor free throw shooters running from defenders to avoid away from the ball fouls, but the strategy still lives nonetheless.
In today’s game, Hack-a-Shaq has moved into the trenches where poor-shooting big men make their living. So far in the NBA season, three of five the most frequent foul shooters are making less than 72 percent of their shots from the line. Instead of letting big men go to the hoop or put back an offensive rebound, teams are fouling the poor free throw shooters and daring them to make their points from the charity stripe.
Leading the way as the worst, and most frequent, foul shooter is Dwight Howard. So far this season, Howard is averaging 10.1 free throw attempts per 36 minutes out on the court according to sportingcharts.com. He is only making 54.1 percent of those attempts.
Next in line is DeMarcus Cousins, who averages 9.95 shots from the stripe. Players who just foul Cousins rather than playing solid defense only see him make 71 percent of his free shots.
Another player with high attempts and a low success rate is Blake Griffin. He is fourth on the list with an average of 8.48 free throw attempts per 36 minutes. Griffin is only connecting on 69 percent.
Of the top five, only Kevin Durant and Kevin Love have free throw percentages that suggest the Hack-A-Shaq strategy is not what gets them to the line. Durant is averaging 9.09 attempts and shooting 88 percent, while Love is averaging 8.27 shots and hitting 81 percent.