NBA commissioner Adam Silver announces major changes to the 'Hack-a-Shaq' rule

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced some welcome changes in Las Vegas last night as the infamous 'Hack-a-Shaq' rule was given some timely adjustments.

Ostensibly, the rule serves as a way for opponents to send poor free throw shooting big men to the charity stripe. Players like Shaquille O'Neal - of whom the rule is named after - were so dominant inside that it was almost a given he would drop two points in possession.

However, with a career average of 52.7 percent from the line, it was obviously an effective way to halt Shaq in his tracks. Dwight Howard is another prime example, too.

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The final two minutes of play in the fourth quarter and overtime has become common place for such away-from-the-ball fouls. The NBA has recognised the correlations and now, during the final two minutes of each quarter, this kind of foul will incur a stiffer penalty of one free throw and possession of the ball.

Intentionally sending poor foul shooters in order to slow down an opponents' offense has been universally criticised for bogging down the pace of play. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been heavily critical of it himself and has been working to make some necessary changes for a while.

Last month at the NBA Finals, Silver said data indicated the tactic added 15 minutes to the length of games. "Not only is that something that is bad for our network partners," the commissioner said, "but for all of the fan research we have, shows that the fans hate it."

The data now suggests a 45 percent drop in incidents, Silver said, based on how coaches typically deploy it. A faster brand of basketball and one devoid of cynical tactics generally makes for an all-around better product.

"This isn't a full step. But I think it is a serious half-step. And far from cosmetic," Silver said.

While it is understandable why players and indeed coaches made use of such a loophole, it really wasn't in keeping with the values of the sport.

If Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors keep raining threes, could the coaches around the league find a way around that too?

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