By Ryan Mayer
Discussion about the NBA this summer have mainly focused on the skyrocketing salary cap that has allowed the Golden State Warriors to form a new super team by adding Kevin Durant. Understandably so. However, one big point of contention that has come up throughout the past several seasons of games is the “Hack-a” player strategy that has been employed by teams to try and get back into games by forcing bad free throw shooters to the line.
While there is plenty of debate over what exactly the league should do, if anything, about this strategy, the NBA took a step last night towards making it harder to execute the intentional fouling strategy the way it has been in years past. From CBSSports.com:
“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.
For inbounds situations, a defensive foul at any point during the game that occurs before the ball is released by the inbounder (including a “legitimate” or “natural” basketball action such as a defender fighting through a screen) will be administered in the same fashion as an away-from-the-play foul committed during the last two minutes of any period (i.e., one free throw and possession of the ball).
The flagrant foul rules will be used to protect against any dangerous or excessively hard deliberate fouls. In particular, it will presumptively be considered a flagrant foul if a player jumps on an opponent’s back to commit a deliberate foul. Previously, these type of fouls were subject to being called flagrant but were not automatic.”
The are a few takeaways here. One, the league isn’t completely getting rid of the strategy and will still allow teams to employ it. Two, the new rule means that the current away-from-play fouls under two minutes rule is now applied to the end of every quarter. Finally, jumping on the back of a player the way some teams decided to commit fouls this season, will now be considered a flagrant foul.
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.