Intentional fouls becoming tactic rather than penalty

by: JOSHUA RAMIREZ/Sports Editor

With some teams using current foul rules to their advantage, the possibility of a change in the NBA’s rule book could be on the horizon.

In today’s game, it has become common practice for losing teams to foul repeatedly at the end of the fourth quarter as a last resort to catch up to their competition.

The discussion of a possible rule change preventing teams from using intentional fouls as a strategy picked up after the Houston Rockets intentionally fouled Detroit Pistons big man Andre Drummond 12 times in the first two and a half minutes of the second half of a 123-114 loss on Jan. 20.

The Rockets were trailing by nine at half time and needed a way to close the gap. By using guard K.J. Daniels as a casualty, they were able to foul Drummond five times in the first 10 seconds of the third quarter.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets

By the end of the game, the Rockets had committed 41 personal fouls. Drummond missed an NBA record 23 of 36 free-throw attempts in the game.

Other players who have been subjected to the hack strategy include Deandre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers and Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets.

While the use of intentional fouls isn’t against NBA rules, the tactic is more of a loophole than an actual strategy and tends to make a game hard to watch. It destroys any flow that may have been established for the players.

But for the league to contemplate changing its rule book in order to cater to a handful of players seems unnecessary to say the least.

Sure there are some players, usually centers and power forwards, who are subjected to the hack strategy more than others. But overall, the strategy has a small success rate. What’s more important to remember is that we are dealing with professional athletes.

These players are supposed to be the best in the world at what they do. Making rules that make the game easier because a couple of players refuse to practice free throws is absurd.


These guys get paid millions and millions of dollars to play a game, and now some people think that the NBA should make it even easier for them because a few players can’t make an uncontested shot from directly in front of the goal.

As for the players on the court who make fools of themselves by missing free shots, they should really take a step back and reevaluate what needs to be done about the situation, because it’s almost embarrassing to watch a professional basketball player shoot free throws worse than a high school kid.

But if the league did decide to cater to the shortcomings of a few players and send the message to thousands of young kids that practicing free throws really isn’t that important, it wouldn’t be hard to do.

The NBA could easily stop the hack strategy by making free throws optional for the team being fouled. For most of the game, personal fouls not in the act of shooting result in the ball being inbounded rather than players taking foul shots. By giving teams an option to inbound the ball or take free throws, you could effectively end the hack strategy with minimal rule changes.


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