After noticing an outpouring of teams recently taking advantage of the “Hack-A-Shaq” tactic on new Lakers center Dwight Howard, NBA commissioner David Stern is looking to flex his authoritative muscles again and abolish the strategy. In his assertion, Stern claimed that this strategy was ‘ludicrous’. My question for the commish is simply, why?
I am an avid fan of the Lakers and have been for some time now. I am also a big Dwight Howard fan and watching him shoot free throws practically makes my eyes bleed. But when a team decides that they want to use their fouls to put a poor free throw shooter at the line, then why can’t they?
Deciding to foul Howard repeatedly is not unfair to the big man because teams and players are not allowed to foul an infinite amount of times. Teams are only allowed to foul the other team four times in one quarter before the victim of the foul gets to shoot free throws. So for every foul that is wasted, that gives an opportunity to another Lakers’ player to get fouled at some point and go to the line.
Like any other competitive sport, game plans stem from strategy. What this tactic is is truly genius. Why let a dominant seven-footer control the paint when you can make him take his worst shot? Anybody in their right mind would put Dwight on the line. He is shooting under 60 percent in his career, and under 48 percent this season; he shows no signs of ever being able to make the shot. If the blame falls on anybody, it is Howard.
Stern needs to realize that he needs to let the league breathe a little. Less than two weeks ago, Stern fined the San Antonio Spurs organization $250,000 after Gregg Popovich chose to let Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green miss their game against the Miami Heat. Stern did this because the fans missed out on seeing four great players play in their only game in Miami, forgetting that these players are human and do indeed need rest.
The commissioner is set to step down on February 1st, 2014; that is hardly over a year away. Stern needs to take a step back and not put his two cents into everything that happens until then. Basketball is a beautiful game, and fouling a player will not take anything away from it. If Howard was really that bothered, then he would take initiative and work on his free throws. He said himself that he did not plan on changing anything, so why should the league?