- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Groans and channel changes followed whenever a player was intentionally fouled last season in the NBA. Call it Hack-A-Shaq or Hack-A-Whoever, but it was disconcerting on multiple levels under any name.

Teams began fouling off the ball to send bad free throw shooters to the foul line more often than any prior season. The strategy was a counter to the 3-point happy offenses that dominate the modern NBA. No one enjoyed it. Coaches used it, but said they didn’t like it. Fans were irritated either because it slowed the game or put on display people who couldn’t seem to fix a fundamental part of their game. The league vowed changes were coming.

The NBA distributed those alterations Tuesday night. The league thinks the rule changes will reduce the number of intentional fouls but not eliminate the strategy. Here are the changes:

The current rule for away-from-the-play fouls applicable to the last two minutes of the fourth period (and last two minutes of any overtime) pursuant to which the fouled team is awarded one free throw and retains possession of the ball will be extended to the last two minutes of each period.

For inbounds situations, a defensive foul at any point during the game that occurs before the ball is released by the inbounder (including a “legitimate” or “natural” basketball action such as a defender fighting through a screen) will be administered in the same fashion as an away-from-the-play foul committed during the last two minutes of any period (i.e., one free throw and possession of the ball).

The flagrant foul rules will be used to protect against any dangerous or excessively hard deliberate fouls. In particular, it will presumptively be considered a flagrant foul if a player jumps on an opponent’s back to commit a deliberate foul. Previously, these type of fouls were subject to being called flagrant but were not automatic.

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