Gregg Popovich on intentional fouls: “Free throws are part of the game”


All around the NBA, there’s been a debate about intentionally fouling bad free-throw shooters to put them on the free-throw line. We see it now with DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond, and Dwight Howard when he’s healthy. It can be effective when a player misses free throws and their team can’t keep them on the floor, but there’s also no denying the aesthetic awfulness of an endless parade of free throws from the fan’s perspective.

One coach who will not apologize for the strategy is Gregg Popovich, who addressed it on Sunday in San Antonio before the Spurs’ afternoon matchup with the Bulls:

Popovich has a point: if the players who were being intentionally fouled made their free throws, teams wouldn’t do it. They only do because it works enough of the time that they decide it’s worth it. So if you want a solution to the problem, start there.