Adam Silver is nothing if not flexible. Initially, Silver and the NBA stood their ground on changing the intentional fouling rules. They didn’t want to alter the game in favor of a few players who simply couldn’t hit their free throws. Yet, as this season progressed and games featuring players like Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan turned into multiple-hour slog-fests, Silver has apparently changed his mind.
After months of media debate, putrid foul shooting, lengthy games and fan discontent, Silver told USA TODAY Sports in an NBA A to Z podcast that, “I’m increasingly of the view that we will be looking to make some sort of change in that rule this summer.”
Long neutral on Hack-A-Player – the strategy of fouling a poor free throw shooter away from the basketball in an attempt to limit an opponent’s scoring – Silver is taking a side.
“Even for those who had not wanted to make the change, we’re being forced to that position just based on these sophisticated coaches understandably using every tactic available to them,” Silver said. “It’s just not the way we want to see the game played.”
Later on in the podcast, Zillgitt says the change won’t be an outright ban of intentional fouling, just a tweak so players aren’t jumping on each other’s backs. It’s not a perfect fix, obviously, but it’s at least a start. The fact of the matter is that the league suffers from an entertainment standpoint when teams employ the “hack-a” strategy. It turns a beautiful game into a plodding mess, and when it happens on nationally-televised games on an every-other-day basis as it did in last year’s Spurs-Clippers series, it can be a major turn off to casual viewers.