Kobe joins LeBron, says ‘hack-a-Shaq’ rules should remain unchanged
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has come around on the so-called "hack-a-Shaq" strategy of intentionally fouling poor free-throw shooters away from the ball, and plans to make rule changes to eliminate this as a strategic tactic once the current season is finished.
“I’m increasingly of the view that we will be looking to make some sort of change in that rule this summer," Silver said, via USA Today. "Even for those who had not wanted to make the change, we’re being forced to that position just based on these sophisticated coaches understandably using every tactic available to them. It’s just not the way we want to see the game played."
LeBron James is already on record as saying he would prefer that the league left the rules unchanged, and Kobe Bryant has joined him in taking that very same stance.
“You can’t protect guys because they can’t shoot free throws,” Bryant said, via ESPN. “You’re getting paid a lot of money to make a damn free throw, dude. I think it sets a bad precedent. I wouldn’t change it.”
That’s the basketball purist side of the argument, and strategically, it’s completely valid. But the NBA is a business that’s built around entertainment above all else, and watching big men parade to the free-throw line only to throw up brick after brick grinds the game to a halt, and makes it extremely unpleasant to watch.
This has become such a point of consternation for the league that it may make a midseason rule change about intentional fouls at the free-throw line, in order to avoid seeing any more plays like this.
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The NBA sent a survey to fans this week with questions based solely around this topic, so changes are certainly on the way — despite the wishes of two of the game’s all-time greats.