Will NBA teams' Hack-A-Shaq, or Hack-A-Dwight, tactic end for good soon? Maybe, if commissioner David Stern has his way.
This season, Lakers star Dwight Howard is leading the league in free throw attempts. Before Wednesday's (December 5) game, he had 203, making just 95 of them. That's below 50 percent... and opposing teams have taken advantage of that, fouling the big man early in the game, and often... much like teams did Shaq when he was the most dominate force in the game.
For those who aren't aware, basically, teams will foul a player like Howard, who doesn't shoot well from the line, regularly and on purpose, forcing him to take free throws. He misses, they get the ball back. It's a strategy that works...
According to ESPN.com blogger Henry Abbott, it's an issue the league is well aware of ... and have discussed options to fix it, due to the increase in the tactic being used against poor free throw shooting players.
This week, during the Lakers' game against the Hornets, the main topic of discussion was about what the league might do about it.
Stern pointed out that the league has instituted a rule that successfully stopped the tactic in the last two minutes of games: Foul a player away from the ball, and after the the free throw, the fouled team gets the ball back. He says he wanted it to last all game.
"I would have liked to have seen the rule changed to make the last-two-minute rule the whole rule," Stern said. "It was getting to a point last year where, [in the] first period, they were just grabbing players. I think that's ludicrous.
"We tried to change it to any time in the game because last year I guess it was everyone was fouling Tiago Splitter early on and the committee didn't want to do it. And so that's just the way it is. Because the reality is that there are a lot of basketball purists -- and I understand that point of view -- who say, 'Hey, why don't you learn to shoot foul shots? You're supposed to be a pro.'"