The Milwaukee Bucks (And Everybody Else) Should Hope The NBA Creates A “Hack-A” Rule

Dec 12, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson (31) reacts to a call in the second quarter during the game against the Golden State Warriors at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 12, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson (31) reacts to a call in the second quarter during the game against the Golden State Warriors at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

Although it’s not a sure thing yet, the creation of a “Hack-A” rule could benefit the Milwaukee Bucks (and the entire NBA) in the long term.

The Milwaukee Bucks are not good free throw shooters. That much has been covered before. John Henson is the worst offender at the foul line, hitting just 53.7 percent of his free throws this season.

That’s not just a one-year thing for Henson, either. Somehow he’s hit that exact same percentage of free throws throughout his entire career. He’s consistent from the charity stripe. Consistently bad.

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The Bucks haven’t exactly been in many crucial games lately, but if they had the chances are pretty good a shrewd opposing coach like Gregg Popovich would have hacked Henson, should the opportunity have presented itself.

For anyone not familiar with hacking, it’s an ugly tactic that has a team intentionally foul an opposing player away from the ball over and over. The opposing player, like Henson, is typically a sub-60 percent free throw shooter.

The logic is that it saves time (making comebacks easier if the winning team features a poor foul shooter), and that a player who makes only half of their foul shots getting two chances is less efficient than an ordinary possession.

Considering how poor Milwaukee’s offense has looked, opposing teams have felt no need to search for a way to make the Bucks less efficient. But in an imaginary world where Milwaukee is a good team, this could very well come up.

Especially if recent rumors are true and Greg Monroe is really on his way out. That would likely leave big John Henson as the starting center. If Henson is playing 30 plus minutes on a good team, he’s going to get hacked.

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The Bucks would suffer from Henson being forced to shoot all those free throws, unless the NBA steps in and makes hacking illegal, which is becoming more and more feasible. NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently told USA Today Sports that the Association is looking into addressing the issue this summer.

"“Even for those who had not wanted to make the change, we’re being forced to that position just based on these sophisticated coaches understandably using every tactic available to them,” Silver said. “It’s just not the way we want to see the game played."

Creating a “Hack-A” rule is the right call. While it is true that a player needs to make their free throws, being able to hug somebody who isn’t even near the play is not basketball.

By all means, hack away if a poor foul shooter is trying to score. That’s just smart basketball. But being able to force a player who doesn’t have the ball to shoot a dozen or more free throws for no reason is just dumb.

Think about if a team could take Stephen Curry and make him post up against NBA centers in the paint every possession. Curry is a great driver and obviously a legendary shooter, but he probably wouldn’t be the NBA MVP if teams could throw him a few feet from the rim with his back to Rudy Gobert and Marc Gasol repeatedly every night.

And it doesn’t make sense to force him to do that. His game is about shooting, not post scoring. But one could argue every player should be a post scorer, because it’s an essential part of the game of basketball.

Or one could not do that, because it’s a stupid thing to say. The same goes with free throws. Every player has different strengths and weaknesses–sometimes those weaknesses just happen to line up with skills that people generally view as “easy”.

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There are pitchers in the MLB who can’t make a throw to first base to save their lives. They can throw a pitch that lands within a strike zone of a few feet at some 90 miles per hour, but they can’t turn around and get the ball to first base.

Should MLB players be able to automatically throw grounders at those pitchers and just sprint to first? Throwing the baseball is a pretty important part of baseball after all, those pitchers should know how to do it!

But they shouldn’t have to do it at the expense of the game. If a team can manage to hit the ball back to them and force them to make that throw, great. But forcing the issue through a technicality isn’t sporting. That kind of behavior belongs in courtrooms, not sporting arenas.

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So aside from merely wanting the “Hack-A” tool out of opposing coaches’ arsenals, the Milwaukee Bucks should want the rule changed for the sake of the game they know and love. Everybody should.