MIAMI -- The hack-a-player strategy remains a hot topic around the NBA, with The Associated Press reporting the league sent a memo to teams Tuesday clarifying that intentionally fouling a player inbounding the ball would result in a delay of game violation and possibly a technical foul.
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich dislikes the strategy, but maintained he’ll continue to utilize it until the league changes the rules.
“I hate it. It’s ugly, but I’m gonna do it. You don’t want me to do it anymore? Learn how to shoot a free throw. I don’t think about it much other than I hate the look of it,” Popovich said. “It just seems like it’s wrong. In your gut, you know that there’s no place for it. But on the other hand, you’re competing, and you take advantage of things: weaknesses of the other team. If we had a guy that can’t shoot, they’re not gonna guard him. So should I have them promise to guard somebody 45 feet from the bucket when he can’t shoot? Promise you won’t foul my guy [because] he can’t shoot free throws? That’s wrong, too. So I’m not sure what the answer is. The league is trying to figure it out. We’re all trying to figure it out.”
Popovich favors the NBA leaving the rules as they are unless the league can come up with a better solution. Popovich also cautioned that any solution could come with unintended consequences.
“It’s a tough one because both sides of the coin have a pretty good argument. We all know it’s ugly, and we all know it’s part of the game,” Popovich said. “You’ve got to shoot free throws. What’s hard about the answer is figuring out what the unintended consequences might be if you make a certain rule. That’s always the toughest thing with a new rule. Something pops up that you didn’t think about. So it’ll be interesting to see what we do. I wouldn’t change anything unless somebody comes up with a really wise Solomon-like rule. I just think it’s hard to figure out what to do. You should be able to take advantage of somebody’s weakness. That’s what you do in sports from time to time. Matchups are important. What’s a team’s strengths? What’s a team’s weaknesses? You strategize accordingly. That’s part of it.”