New Hack-a-Shaq rule could be in place by July, says NBA commissioner Adam Silver

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Intentionally fouling poor free-throw shooters has become an all-too familiar occurence in the NBA in recent years with several coaches adopting the strategy to gain an advantage over their opponents.

More so than ever in today's game, if a team has a poor free-throw shooter, they will pay the price in more ways than one.

The 'Hack-a-Shaq', as it is commonly known due to Shaquille O'Neal receiving the treatment in his playing days because of his inability to make shots from the charity stripe, is a tactic that is effective but doesn't go down well with basketball purists.

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Those who enjoy watching the game played out competitively for 48 minutes have grown increasingly frustrated with the amount of time added when the intentional fouling occurs and how it ruins a spectacle.

Well those people, including regular victims like Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, Tristan Thompson and Andew Bogut can all breath a huge sigh of relief as the rule could be undergoing a change.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has confirmed the league will address the rule in the offseason and something could be altered ahead of the 2016-17 campaign.

“It's not unanimous, but there is clearly an emerging consensus, both among the members of the competition committee and the owners, who we made a presentation to at last week's meetings, that we need to address the situation,” Silver said, via SI.

“I think, as Kiki [VanDeWeghe] said, exactly what the new rule should be is still open for debate. At least I'm hoping that between now and when the owners next meet in July we can create and form a consensus as to what a change in the rule should be.”

Silver spoke on the topic at length as he fielded questions from media members in Manhattan on Thursday and presented a number of interesting stats to those in attendance.

The commissioner stated, per SI ,that it takes only three or more Hack-a-Shaq fouls to add 11 minutes to an NBA game, which he acknowledges is a concern.

Any potential rule change must be agreed upon with owners of the 30 teams before it can be applied and requires two-thirds of teams to vote in favor of whatever alternative is presented.

“It's not something that we can just walk into an owners' room and say here's our idea,” Silver said. “I think we'd really have to build support for it.”

Many former players have been opposed to the rule being changed for bad free-throw shooters, instead claiming that they should improve on their shot and Silver was of the same opinion too, until he saw the numbers from the recent regular season.

Per SI, at this year's All-Star break, Hack-a-Shaq fouls were being committed at four times the rate the NBA saw in 2014–15.

Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA's vice-president of basketball operations, has been one of the biggest backers of the rule change and believes the intentional fouling it is having a detrimental effect on the league and its fans.

“It's more than the last two years combined, the number," VanDeWeghe said. “I think very few people like the idea of this, it's non-basketball play, it sort of goes against the spirit of the rule book. Free throws are to compensate and deter fouls, not to encourage them. And so I think we're at the point where everyone agrees on that.”

Andre Drummond
Detroit Pistons
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Western Conference
Houston Rockets
Southwest Division
Dwight Howard

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