NBA alters rule on "Hack-a-Shaq" type fouls

July 13, 2016

The NBA announced that its Board of Governors has approved rules changes for the 2016-17 season pertaining to deliberate away-from-the-play fouls, and to basketball purists, it probably will not be seen as a step in the right direction.

“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,” said Kiki VanDeWeghe, NBA Executive VP Basketball Operations.  “The introduction of these new rules is designed to curb the increase in such fouls without eliminating the strategy entirely.”

The new rules for Deliberate Away-From-The-Play Fouls are as follows:

  • The current rule for away-from-the-play fouls applicable to the last two minutes of the fourth period (and last two minutes of any overtime) – pursuant to which the fouled team is awarded one free throw and retains possession of the ball – will be extended to the last two minutes of each period.

  • For inbounds situations, a defensive foul at any point during the game that occurs before the ball is released by the inbounder (including a “legitimate” or “natural” basketball action such as a defender fighting through a screen) will be administered in the same fashion as an away-from-the-play foul committed during the last two minutes of any period (i.e., one free throw and possession of the ball).

  • 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.

These rules changes were recommended by the NBA’s Competition Committee at its offseason meetings.

Instead of trying to alter the rules to shield the game's weak free throw shooters, perhaps the league's poor free throw shooters can simply improve their stroke instead.

Such changes might make the games a more fan-friendly viewing product, but they also could weaken the overall player quality as a whole.  Much like the recent allowance for more zone defenses to hide the league's weaker defensive players, this is another step toward subsidizing those players with deficiencies in their game.

By Staff of and news services

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