Why the changes to Hack-a-Shaq rules are great for the NBA

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The NBA announced that three rule changes will be made to counteract the rise in Hack-a-Shaq tactics during the 2015/16 season. The Board of Governors voted unanimously in favour of a move that will come into play for the start of the new campaign.

The main change reads as followed: "The current rule for away-from-the-play fouls applicable to the last two minutes of the fourth period (and last two minutes of any overtime) – pursuant to which the fouled team is awarded one free throw and retains possession of the ball – will be extended to the last two minutes of each period."

Realistically, the shift in opinion from the commissioner and the league as a whole is a good thing for brand NBA, and here are three reasons why.


Adam Silver was not always so in favour of changing the rules surrounding Hack-a-Whoever. It was not until February that he revealed they would most likely be altered.

One of the main reasons for his change of heart - the commissioner had previously taken the line that players should just get better from the charity stripe - was that it was affecting the watch-ability of the NBA, not just in the United States, but around the world.

Nobody wants to see the last two minutes of every quarter taken up by free throws and intentional off-ball fouls. Especially those in Europe, and other continents, who stay up until all hours of the night to tune it.

The league is now a global market, all about a fast-paced, exciting product, and Hack-a-Shaq goes against everything they are trying to create.


Of course, the NBA will never be an end-to-end game in the clutch moments - timeouts play too big of a role in helping teams tactically - but limiting the effect that Hack-a-Shaq can have will really speed up the play and make the game much more exciting.

Too often teams reverted to fouling a poor-shooting center, disrupting the flow of the game, leading to many lulls in the atmosphere of the crowd and in the action on the court.

Free throws are a vital part of a game, they can be the difference between winning or losing, but let's keep it to shooting fouls or teams entering the penalty.

It's only a compromise

The main argument against the change of rules was that it rewarded incompetence from some of the game's big men who were unable to hit shots from the free-throw line at a high percentage.

There is a lot of sense in that argument, but the new rules do not mean that Hack-a-player is gone forever. Teams are still allowed to hack to their heart's content in the first ten minutes of each quarter, it is only the last two that are out of limit.

However, the risk is not worth the reward. With such a lengthy period still to play in the quarter, is it worth putting your team in the penalty just to send DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard or Andre Drummond to the line? Only time will tell what coaches thing. My original thought is no.

The NBA has shown its want to be progressive and produce the best product possible. Anything that leads to a faster, more exciting style is a good choice in many fans' eyes.

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Dwight Howard
Houston Rockets
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