The two sides of the 'Hack-a-Whoever' strategy
Beckley Mason and Henry Abbott of ESPN.com described some key moments of Game 4 between the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs were not basketball at all.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich who have used the tactic, to stretch the game and give his team a better shot of winning in some close game situations says he hates it, but it is within the rules.
"I hate it, it's ugly. But it's something that's available." Popovich said.
Yes, It's ugly, but to say that it is not part basketball, is completely out of line.
Most Clippers fans might find it painful to watch Reggie Evans and DeAndre Jordan parade to the line only to miss free throws after, free throws.
But what if those guys, made their shots? Does intentionally fouling a player made sense to the team that fouled?
Fouling is a part of most professional sports, and it can be used as a strategy by teams depending on the game's situation.
In a close game for example, intentionally fouling a player is done to stop the clock and get the ball back after the foul shots were taken.
It gives the trailing team a chance to get back into the ball game by creating an extra possession to draw a quick play that can alter the course of the game.
However, Mason and Abbott thinks that changing the rule book can help the game, and they have a simple solution.
" Let fouled teams decide if they'd rather have the free throw, or the ball out of bounds. After any foul, Hack-a-Whoever or otherwise. You'd quickly have no reason to foul to get the ball back, because fouling would not get you the ball back. Then you'd also get a lot more games ending with a lot more basketball being played. And who's against that? "
On a quick glance it made sense, but there is a problem. Basketball has a penalty rule.
Under the rule, teams are penalized for fouling players when they reach the team foul limit, which means automatic free throws for every foul committed.
There is a reason, why that rule applies, because free throws are supposed to giving the offensive team to stretch their lead and not the other way around, that is the reason why the are called 'freebies'.
I don't think it's a fair judgement, to say that intentional fouling makes basketball bad.
There is always two sides in a coin.
Fouling and free throws is a part of basketball, just as an intentional walk is a part of baseball. And teams use them to gain advantage or strategize.
Perhaps the real problem is not about the 'Hack-a-Whoever' tactic after all. Maybe it's about time, NBA teams and players take it as a challenge to hone their shooting skills instead.
The bottom line is, teams are penalized for committing a foul, it is an essential rule in any sport.
On the other hand, shooting is a skill that a basketball player must have, remember the main goal in basketball is to put the ball inside the basket.
(Photo via ESPN/NBA)