The strategy to commit fouls away from the ball in order to send poor free throw shooters to the line is fair under the current rules, although it’s anything but entertaining to watch.
Because of its lack of aesthetic value, many both inside and outside the league would like to see the so-called Hack-a-Shaq method of defense completely removed as an option, which could be easily done by simply giving these types of fouls the same treatment as a technical — the team that was victimized receives one free throw and retains possession of the ball, and thus the desire to pursue the strategy is eliminated entirely.
But a recent report stated that there was not enough support among the league’s general managers to move forward with a rule change at this time. And Blazers GM Neil Olshey was one who remained skeptical that it was something that needed to be addressed at all.
“Aesthetically, we do have an issue,” said Olshey. “But I think it’s more isolated than people want to believe. This doesn’t go on all season… I think it’s a unique situation because you have two people who are vulnerable to this kind of strategy playing in the same series. I think look at Atlanta and Washington, we don’t see it. I think when you look at Memphis and Golden State, you don’t see it. So to throw the baby out with the bathwater because we happen to have to live through a matchup where this kind of strategy is being employed, I think is premature.”
Olshey then went on to say that Blake Griffin used to get intentional fouled all the time, but that he did what many say is the answer to the issue: he improved this free throw shooting.
Said Olshey: “To legislate against a player having issues with one specific skill, it’s a slippery slope.”
Olshey is right in that this hardly happens on a nightly basis. But when it does, it’s brutal to watch.
The main thing influencing general managers at this point is likely the data that was presented at their annual meeting in Chicago last week, which showed that 76 percent of the intentional fouls this season, including the playoffs, have been committed against just five players: DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Joey Dorsey and Andre Drummond.
The problem, obviously, is that Howard and Jordan are simultaneously participating in a seven-game series between the Rockets and the Clippers, which draws an undue amount of attention to the issue.