Critics debate NBA hacking strategy

Sports commentators have recently revived the debate on whether to change the NBA rule for repeatedly fouling a player and sending him to the free throw line.

This is mostly due to Detroit Piston’s star center Andre Drummond. Drummond broke the record for missed free throws on January 20 when he missed 23 of 36 attempts at the line. Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain held the previous record since 1967 with 22 misses.

Trailing by 9 points, the Houston Rockets resorted to intentionally fouling Drummond, who currently ranks as the worst free throw shooter in the NBA. “Hack-a-Drummond” it was called.

This was not the first time such a strategy had been used. The same tactic was used on Shaquille O’Neil—hence the term “Hack-a-Shaq” was devised due to the rhyme scheme.

“Hack-a-Shaq,” or “Hack-a-whoever,” was a way in which opposing teams could take advantage of a player’s poor shooting in order to gain an advantage.

So whenever the other team was on offence, the strategy was simply to foul the poor shooter.

Many have called for a rule change. I disagree. In my opinion, the rule is fine as is, though I have never been a fan of intentionally fouling for whatever reason.

The NBA shouldn’t change its rule because a player can’t make free throws. It’s a part of the game—an important part at that.

The four players with the lowest free throw percentages are: Andre Drummond with an astounding 35 percent, Deandre Jordan with 41 percent, Hassan Whiteside with 54 percent and Dwight Howard with 55 percent, according to

Their free throws shots are often ugly, foul things—a shot with little form or arc; a brick would be the more appropriate term.

Perhaps instead of a rule change, the poor free throw shooters should work on their shot.

However, the fouling strategy is nearly as ugly as the shots which ensue. No one likes seeing constant free throws, especially when many cascade off the edge off the rim or backboard, or even miss the basket entirely.

It’s not something that is easy to understand. All four of the lower ranking players are good players, maybe even great players.

There is no reason these shots should be missed, and yet they miss them.

Perhaps it is the pressure of having all those people watching; maybe it is a bad breakfast or the need for a nap. Regardless, it is something which hurts the NBA image.

Yet the rule should not change. Mostly because there is not a lot that can be changed to make the game better.

Neither should NBA commissioner Adam Silver speak on the debate, unless it is a quiet word to the owners of the teams with the struggling free throw shooters.

Basketball courts are there for more than just games. We’re talking about practice. Practice those shots and no more ugly games. No more hacking strategies.

Nathan Cavitt
Staff Reporter

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