What is the Hack-a-Shaq strategy? The strategy was actually first developed in the late 1990s against Dennis Rodman, who was a 38% free-throw shooter. The theory was that if you fouled Rodman, he would miss 62% of his free throws, which would be better than letting his team try to make a basket for 2 or 3 points.
Then why is it called Hack-a-Shaq? This catchy phrase caught on when the strategy was used mercilessly against Shaquille O’Neal, who was a notoriously bad free-throw shooter.
So what’s the big deal? Hack-a-Shaq, or Hack-a-(insert-player's-name-here), makes for pretty boring television. The clock stops constantly and you have to watch some guy who’s terrible at shooting free throws keep trying and trying and trying. There has been some backlash to try and change the rules, but most people will respond that players can be taken out of the game or can improve their free throw percentage. You know what they say… practice, practice, practice.
Ch-ch-changes. Recently, the NBA passed a rule to try and reduce the use of the strategy. Now, the fouled team will be awarded one free throw and retain possession of the ball for away-from-the-play fouls in the last 2 minutes of each quarter. Refs will also be more liberal with handing out flagrant fouls for hard deliberate fouls of big men, who are bad from the free throw line.