The Hack-a-Shaq rule has never negatively affected the San Antonio Spurs, because their roster has always been too fundamentally solid to ever fall victim to poor free throw shooting.
News of Adam Silver wanting to abolish the Hack-a-Shaq rule draws attention to professional players who seem incapable of ever improving their shooting from the foul line.
Yes it’s embarrassing for a blatant weakness on the court to get exposed for all to see, but that’s what competition is all about.
If a player doesn’t want to feel like a liability to his team, he either needs to work to improve on it, or the coach has to do what’s best for the team and remove him from the game.
The Spurs have no such players who are cringeworthy from the free throw line, so Gregg Popovich doesn’t have to stress about whether he can play an important guy during crunch time. The Spurs ranked 2nd in the NBA in free throw percentage last season at 80.3%, emphasizing their ability to capitalize on scoring opportunities.
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Missed free throws are a frustrating act of complacency. Every point matters in an NBA game, and missed shots from the charity stripe often have an impact on the final result of a contest.
Examining the Spurs’ roster gives even more credence to their reputation as a squad who base their success on mastering the fundamentals of basketball.
No player shot free throws lower than 69% for the season. The 2 low men, Andre Miller and Rasual Butler, both averaged less than 15 minutes per game and were not heavily relied upon.
Nobody on the team has to worry about falling victim to the Hack-a-Shaq rule due to the simple fact that everybody on the team is good at hitting free throws.
That’s the solution to the problem that Silver is trying to solve through reckless legislation. Players should practice more to get better at free throws.
Foul shooting is a crucial part of a basketball game, and if a player doesn’t have the ability to reliably hit free throws, then maybe he doesn’t belong out on the court during important sequences.
The remarkable statistic of collective efficiency from the line by the Spurs is just another reason why they should be very proud.
They don’t have to worry about an opposing team exploiting a free throw weakness because they have none. If only other teams could develop the same consistency.