NBA PM: Hack-A-Shaq Isn’t Going Anywhere

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What would you do with the top overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft? We asked several of our Basketball Insiders writers to share their thoughts.

Hack-A-Shaq Isn’t Going Anywhere

After San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich repeatedly intentionally fouled L.A. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan in the first round of the playoffs, he predicted that new rules would be put in place so that the “Hack-A-Shaq” strategy would no longer be allowed next season.

“I’ve got a strong feeling next year, we won’t have to deal with this,” Popovich said after using Hack-A-Jordan an awful lot against the Clippers, according to CBS Sports’ Ken Berger. “Intellectually, I don’t feel bad about it. But sight-wise, it’s God awful.”

However, even though it is God awful to watch, intentionally fouling isn’t going anywhere.

Today, at the annual NBA general managers meeting, no vote was taken on the matter, but it was discussed by the competition committee and there wasn’t a consensus that rule changes need to be made. Unless this committee changes its mind, it doesn’t seem like a proposed rule change will be suggested to the NBA’s Board of Governors.

It seems that executives believe that the players being hacked should just improve their free throw shooting, and that they shouldn’t be bailed out by this new rule that would help only a select few individuals.

During the meeting, league officials shared data that showed “76 percent of the intentional fouls this season have been committed against five players: DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Joey Dorsey and Andre Drummond,” according to CBS Sports’ Berger.

Because of this, the belief is that this is an isolated issue and its effect on the game has been overblown.

“There is not enough support to change it,” one executive in the meeting told Berger. “It’s one of those perception is bigger than reality issues.”

“It’s part of the game,” another executive added. “You need to make your free throws.”

In the NBA D-League, a rule has been put in place to stop intentional fouling. All fouls committed away from the play result in one free throw (the team chooses which player attempts it) and possession.

In the NBA, that only occurs during the final two minutes of regulation or overtime, and that will likely continue to be the only time that the Hack-A-Shaq strategy goes away.

Earlier this month, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver discussed this issue and seemed unsure if a change was necessary.

“This is one where I really am torn,” Silver said in an interview on Bleacher Report Radio. “I don’t like it. Aesthetically, it’s not good, I think, for a fan to watch it – even though I find the strategy fascinating … I’m not saying we shouldn’t make the change. But I think we’ve got to be really careful in how we go about doing it.”

In another interview, Silver also said he received notes from many youth coaches saying not to make a rule change because it encourages kids to work on their free throws rather than just ignoring that part of their game.

While certain games can be slowed down and hard to watch due to intentional fouling, that has been the case for many years and no rule changes were made. This has been discussed more and more lately and it’s always possible that some members of the competition committee who remain on the fence could change their minds and decide to push for change.

However, at least in the near future, it seems like Hack-A-Shaq is here to stay and players should get in the gym with a free-throw shooting coach.

Inside the NBA Re-Signs Crew

Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal and Ernie Johnson will continue to provide you with NBA analysis and laughs for several more years.

Today, it was announced that the entire Inside the NBA team was re-signed to new multi-year contracts to keep the group intact.

“We truly believe Inside the NBA is among the best studio shows of all time and a large part of its success is due to the unrivaled chemistry between Ernie, Charles, Kenny and Shaquille,” said Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports in a statement. “We’re looking forward to continuing the creativity and pioneering spirit behind the show for a very long time.”

Barkley had made some comments in recent interviews about potentially quitting broadcasting after the conclusion of his current contract, but now it’s clear he’ll be remaining on the TNT show and likely continuing to contribute to their coverage of other events as well (such as March Madness).

Inside the NBA has won many awards and, aside from live games, is the most watched NBA show. Johnson is in his 26th year on the show, Smith is in his 18th year, Barkley is in his 16th year and O’Neal is in his fourth year.

While the group has received some criticism when their analysis isn’t the most in-depth, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal make up for that by being incredibly entertaining, telling stories from their playing career and mocking one another endlessly.

The show doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is a big reason why it is so much fun to watch and so different from other similar sports programs. It’s good to hear that the same formula and talent that has made Inside the NBA so successful will be around for several more years.