Hack-A-Shaq is no more! The NBA has approved a significant rule change for the 2016-17 season that would disallow players from committing deliberate fouls that occur away from plays.
Were you tired of watching poor free throw shooters like DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond and Dwight Howard forced to go to the foul line for most of the game?
Hack-A-Shaq restricted to final 2 minutes
The new rule means that the away-from-the-play fouls are only applicable for the final two minutes of the fourth quarter and the final two minutes of an overtime period. This would mean that the likes of Jordan and Drummond don’t need to worry about shooting Hack-A-Shaq free throws for the rest of the game. However, they can still be hacked at the end of games.
Kiki VanDeWeghe, vice president of basketball operations for the NBA, announced the rule changes via a statement on Tuesday. “In looking at the data and numerous potential solutions to combat the large increase in deliberate away-from-the-play foul situations, we believe these steps offer the most measured approach. The introduction of these new rules is designed to curb the increase in such fouls without eliminating the strategy entirely.”
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has vehemently opposed the rule change. “Rewarding incompetence is never a good business strategy,” Cuban told ESPN, before explaining that poor free throw shooters needed to work on their skills instead of forcing the NBA’s hand to change the rules.
The NBA also tweaked rules pertaining to flagrant fouls. “The flagrant foul rules will be used to protect against any dangerous or excessively hard deliberate fouls. In particular, it will presumptively be considered a flagrant foul if a player jumps on an opponent’s back to commit a deliberate foul. Previously, these type of fouls were subject to being called flagrant but were not automatic,” added the statement.
The Hack-A-Shaq strategy came into prominence in the late 1990s when teams began to deliberately foul Los Angeles Lakers’ Shaquille O’Neal, a poor free throw shooter. Since then, teams have successfully deployed the strategy in crucial situations in the postseason.