Is Hack-a-DJ still a thing?

The game Is Hack-a-DJ still a thing?of basketball has changed a lot in the last 10 years, and one major shift is from the classical center, who used to get his points in the paint, to the modern center, who was speed and can shoot the ball easily. One of the most known centers in the history of the NBA is Shaquille O’Neal, 4-time champion. The giant was a force on the court, he was so dominant that he even broke some backboards a few times. If he got the ball anywhere near the basket, it was game over for the opposition. But, Shaq had one weakness – his shooting ability, especially at the free-throw line. So, in the late 90’s, Don Nelson, the coach of the Dallas Mavericks, implemented a strategy called “Hack-a-Shaq”. Basically, at the end of the games, if the score was close, they would foul Shaquille O’Neal in order to get him to the free-throw line, hoping that Shaq would miss.

This strategy was rapidly implemented in other systems too and also to other players such as Ben Wallace, Dwight Howard, Andre Drummond or DeAndre Jordan. It was thought that there is nothing that these athletes could do in order to develop their free-throw game. In 2015, DeAndre Jordan tied the record for most FTs missed in a game (22 free-throws) but a few years later, this “record” was broken by Andre Drummond, who missed 23 FTs.

Free-throws are very important because they can make the difference between a lost game and a won one. So, from this point of view, players such as Howard, Jordan or Drummond had a big disadvantage on the court. They started to work hard and try to change the form of their shot in order to get better results from the free-throw line and we’ve witnessed something amazing. DeAndre Jordan, one of the worst shooters from the “charity stripe”, managed to increase his percentage to 81.7% in one summer. This is definitely above average, and it’s incredible if we look at the fact that last season, DeAndre Jordan shot only 58% from the free-throw line. In fact, the Dallas Mavericks’ player has better numbers than great shooters such as James Harden, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul or LeBron James.

This shows us that anyone can shoot free-throws if they practice enough and if they make time to develop this important side of their game. We can absolutely say that DeAndre Jordan became a much better player because of his increased percentage and he is an important piece of the Dallas Mavericks’ roster. So, in conclusion, I guess that the opponents don’t want to foul DeAndre Jordan in this stage of his career, so Hack-a-DJ is not a thing anymore.

David Istrate,

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