This isn’t basketball.
But it worked, so we will keep seeing it.
The Pistons were up 56-47 on the Rockets at the half, and Rockets’ coach J.B. Bickerstaff decided to go to hack-a-Dre fouling Andre Drummond intentionally to start the second half — 12 straight times. K.J. McDaniels was inserted into the game, and he was charged with fouling Drummond five times in succession just to get the Pistons into the penalty, then the continued hacking led to free throws. The result wasn’t basketball, it was farce. A mockery of the sport. Which is maybe what needs to happen to force a rule change.
The Pistons didn’t get off an actual field goal attempt in the second half until there was 9:08 left in the third quarter, after Drummond was fouled a dozen times.
But it worked at first — Drummond struggled from the line (5-of-16 on those free throws) and the Rockets closed the nine-point deficit and even took the lead. Eventually, the Pistons had to pull Drummond from the game.
From Adam Silver on down when a rule change has been advocated the response has been “make your free throws” or “this only impacts a couple of players.” The second part of that isn’t true anymore, it’s growing, and there have already been more intentional off-the-ball fouls this season than there were all of last season.
What’s more, what you are advocating for is not basketball. It is not in the spirit of the rules. It is gaming the system. And it is painful to watch.
The league needs to make a change (I suggest a simple one — if a player is fouled off the ball the aggrieved team can choose free throws or the ball out-of-bounds). It needs to start with Silver taking the lead.