Report: ‘Not enough support’ among GMs to change ‘Hack-a-Shaq’ rule

26 Comments

Adam Silver has said he’s on the fence about whether or not the league should look to change the rules surrounding intentional fouls away from the ball — also known as the Hack-a-Shaq strategy — that sends dismal free throw shooters to the line on purpose.

From a strategy standpoint, it can seem to make sense.

From an aesthetic standpoint, it’s brutal to watch.

The NBA is an entertainment product above all else, so removing the least entertaining portion of the game would seem to be in the league’s best interest. But while an earlier report placed the odds of the league making such a change at 85 percent, the latest version seems to indicate that team executives aren’t wholeheartedly convinced.

From Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

At the annual meeting of NBA general managers Wednesday in Chicago, there was no overwhelming consensus to change the rules to discourage teams from intentionally fouling poor free-throw shooters, league sources told CBSSports.com.

“There is not enough support to change it,” one executive in the meeting said. “It’s one of those perception is bigger than reality issues.”

League officials presented data on intentional fouling that strongly suggested the problem is an isolated one, despite all the attention it has gotten during the postseason. According to the data shared with GMs at the meeting, 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.

The statistics presented are what likely killed the desire to make a change more than anything else.

If such a small percentage of players are the ones victimized by the strategy the vast majority of the time, then it would seem to be a smaller problem than most have made it out to be. But because two of those players are currently facing each other in a high-profile seven-game series in the second round of the playoffs, it can make for some extremely ugly basketball, nationally-televised all by itself for the NBA-watching world to see.

It’s worth noting that this will still be discussed by the competition committee during its July meeting in Las Vegas, and it may still be recommended that the rules need to be changed. But it’s far from a consensus at this point, at least in the early stages of discussion.

Paul George on twins Marcus, Markieff Morris: “They’re different, but they’re the same”

Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

LOS ANGELES — Paul George has given us the quote of the day.

For some quick context, last season Paul George played with Markieff Morris in Oklahoma City. This season, George’s Clippers team traded for the other Morris twin, Marcus Morris, at the deadline. When asked about them, George admitted to mixing them up — and then had a classic description of twins.

“It was weird at first, ‘cuz I would call [Marcus] ‘Keiff.’ It actually took a good week. It’s crazy. ‘What’s up Marcus? Nice to meet you.’ Then instantly after, ‘Hey Keiff!’ It’s gonna take a second…

“They’re different, but they’re the same.”

Um… yes, they are.

Both Morris twins live in Los Angeles now (and are expected to move in together). Marcus was traded to the Clippers at the deadline, while Markieff was waived and became a free agent, choosing to sign with the Lakers.

George had high praise for both of them.

“Markieff and Marcus, they are great glue guys,” George said. “They just know how to play the game. They fit right in, they bring toughness, hecka [good] locker room guys, both of them just great people. Great dudes.”

They’re the same that way. But different.

Report: Terry Stotts to remain Trail Blazers coach next season

Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts
Abbie Parr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Trail Blazers had big expectations after reaching the 2019 Western Conference finals and signing their top players, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, to lucrative contract extensions.

Instead, Portland (26-32) is in a dogfight with the Grizzlies, Pelicans, Spurs, Suns and Kings for the No. 8 seed.

Often, teams underperforming like that fire their coach.

Sam Amick of The Athletic:

A source with knowledge of coach Terry Stotts’ situation said there’s no reason to believe he’s in any danger this summer, regardless of how this turns out.

Stotts has a few things working in his favor:

So expect Stotts back next season. But also expect him to face a little more pressure. Even if a lot of what wrong this season wasn’t his fault, losing tends to increase scrutiny on the coach.

In his eighth season with the Trail Blazers, Stotts is the NBA’s fourth-longest-tenured coach (behind only the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, Heat’s Erick Spoelstra and Mavericks’ Rick Carlisle). It just becomes increasingly more difficult for Stotts to meet the high expectations he has helped set in Portland.

For now, though, Stotts appears to remain ahead of the curve.

Stephen Curry reportedly will return to Warriors lineup Sunday vs. Wizards

Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

After four months off, the Warriors were looking for a soft landing spot to ease Stephen Curry back into the rotation.

How about Sunday, vs. Washington and the worst defense in the NBA this season?

That’s the plan, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Curry has said for some time he was targeting March 1 for a return, this would be that exact date (to be fair to the Wizards, they have played better defense of late). After that, Golden State plays at Denver on the third, has a Finals rematch against Toronto at the Chase Center on March 5, then the 76ers visit the Warriors on the seventh.

Curry suffered a fractured hand just four games into the season when Suns’ center Aron Baynes fell on him. Recovery required two surgeries, one to put pins in to stabilize the bone through the healing process, then a second one to remove those pins once the recovery was far enough along.

While some fans had called for Curry to sit out the season and tank, Warriors coach Steve Kerr emphatically shot that idea down. As he should.

For one thing, Kerr wants to build some familiarity and chemistry between Curry and newly acquired Andrew Wiggins this season. Having Curry back may mean the Warriors don’t finish with the worst record in the league this season (which they have right now) but with the flattened out draft lottery odds that’s not as big an issue. Besides, this is not a deep draft. This is not a situation where the Warriors will get instant help — in our podcast recently, NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster described it as the top three picks in this draft would be 6-10 most seasons. The Warriors may ultimately try to trade their pick for a player who can help more next season.

Ben Simmons has nerve impingement in lower back, to be re-evaluated in two weeks

Leave a comment

The biggest concern with Ben Simmons back issue is not that it will have him out weeks, it’s that nobody is saying what exactly is causing it.

Simmons has a nerve impingement in his lower back that will have him getting treatment daily, and he will be re-evaluated in two weeks, something first reported  by Shams Charania of The Athletic and confirmed by NBC Sports Philadelphia. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski provided some context, but nothing that is very encouraging.

A nerve impingement — what is commonly referred to as a pinched nerve — is exactly what it sounds like: Something is pressing on the nerve, “pinching” it and causing pain.

The big question: What is impinging on the nerve? That’s what Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothes asked.

This does not sound like something that is going to be resolved in two weeks and Simmons will be back to normal.

Simmons injured his back last Wednesday in practice while grabbing a rebound, according to coach Brett Brown. Simmons sat out last Thursday’s Sixers game against the Nets, tried to play on Saturday vs. the Bucks but had to come out after one quarter, and has not set foot on the court since.

Simmons averages 16.9 points, 8.3 assists, 7.9 rebounds a game, not to mention a league-best 2.2 steals a night. The All-Star is a core part of the Sixers rotation and will miss significant time they try to climb up into the top four in the East and get home court for the first round of the playoffs. Shake Milton started Monday in Simmons place.