San Antonio Spurs News

Adam Silver Is Wrong About Ending Hack-a-Shaq Rule

June 2, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks to media before the Golden State Warriors play against the Cleveland Cavaliers in game one of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
June 2, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks to media before the Golden State Warriors play against the Cleveland Cavaliers in game one of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wanting to eliminate the Hack-a-Shaq rule is absolutely the wrong decision.

Players who are liabilities on free throws should not be rewarded with a rule change to shield their ineptness.

The San Antonio Spurs have never been spotlighted on the wrong end of this problem. Gregg Popovich has wisely used this rule to impede his opponent, but opponents have rarely been able to do the same thing to Popovich’s teams.

The Spurs are known for their solid fundamentals, and that includes shooting free throws. Maybe other teams around the league should follow this example and ensure that their players are competent free throw shooters.

If a coach has a player who is falling victim to intentional fouls to send him to the line, then he has some important strategic decisions about whether to keep him in the game or not.

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A rule change that bails out any player with a deficiency is not only an overreaction, but also sends a message that improvement isn’t necessary.

It’s different when the rule change involves limiting a player’s effectiveness, because at least that stems from success. Wilt Chamberlain forced the NBA to widen the lane to force him further away from the hoop while working the post.

That change was initiated due to dominance, not incompetence. Dwight Howard missing free throws isn’t affecting the competitive balance of a game because he’s exploiting a rule for undue success.

The rationale from Silver is that Hack-a-Shaq slows a game down, but it’s just utilizing strategy. It’s no different than exploiting other player weaknesses on the court. If a guy can’t shoot 3-pointers, give him space at the perimeter. If a guy can’t pass effectively out of a double-team, double him constantly.

Imagine a rule change that made double-teaming illegal because a few players in the league would always end up turning the ball over. It’s apart of the game, and it’s up to players to improve their skills so their weaknesses aren’t exploited.

Silver claims that fans don’t like how it grinds a game to a halt, but shouldn’t fans enjoy the strategic battle of wits between coaches? Why take away a completely reasonable tactic that an opposing team can use to gain an advantage?

Next: Commissioner Adam Silver Looking to End Hack-a-Shaq

Silver is wrong about this one. Over-legislating to correct something that isn’t even a problem is never the right way to go.

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