The NBA announced rules changes for the 2016-17 season with a focus on deliberate fouls that occur away from the play. The NBA wants to curtail the “hack-a” strategy on poor free throw shooting players.
Why? The Association claims the ‘Hack-a-Shaq’ or ‘Hack-a-Howard’ strategy that some teams use hurts the rhythm and flow of the game. Personally, I think it just embarrasses the league when fans have to watch this:
Either way the league extend the current rule for away-from-the-play fouls applicable to the final two minutes of the fourth quarter and any overtime to the last two minutes of each period. Not all owners were on board with the decision. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said, “Rewarding incompetence is never a good business strategy.”
Cuban is right but not for the reason you think. The Mavericks owner is implying this rule change will benefit teams like the Los Angeles Clippers and players like DeAndre Jordan. However, the ‘Hack-a-DJ’ strategy doesn’t work.
When you pull Bet Labs game data for the last two years in which DeAndre attempted at least ten free throws, an approximation of when he was deliberately being fouled, an interesting trend emerges. The Clippers win, a lot!
Since the 2014-15 season, Jordan has been fouled 10 or more times in 53 games – more than half a season. The Clips record in those games, 36-17. It gets even better for LA if the All-Star center attempts 15 or more free throws. In those games the Clippers are 18-4. Opposing teams tend to use the ‘hack-a’ strategy when they are already losing, against the Clips it often does not change their fortunes.
In the video above Andre Drummond sets an NBA record by missing 23 free throws in a single game. Despite the futility from the charity stripe the Pistons still won the game. If intentionally fouling doesn’t work against two of the league’s worst free throw shooters then there was no need for rule changes – ‘hack-a’ strategies don’t work.