Saturday February 6th, 2016

In wake of commissioner Adam Silver’s softened stance on the matter, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban defended the NBA’s prevalent hacking strategy on Saturday in an interview with ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh.

Silver told USA Today on Friday that changes were needed to the ‘hack-a-player’ rules, and that the league’s coaches were forcing the NBA’s hand in how well they have taken advantage of the tactics and exposed poor free throw shooters. The commissioner had stayed neutral on the matter until recently. The NBA is nearing 300 “hack-a” fouls on the season.

“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.”

Sports Illustrated Roundtable: What should NBA do with ‘Hack-a-Shaq?’

Cuban disagreed with Silver’s position that the strategy is diminishing the on-court product’s entertainment value and that it adds a layer of intrigue and helps fans feel involved in the game (given their roles as distractions for opposing shooters). “Will they leave him in or leave him out?” Cuban told ESPN. “How do both teams feel about it? How will they foul? Is it a new creative way, or is it just chasing?”

The Mavericks owner said he thinks there might be an overreaction to the trend.

“We have to realize that the number of basketball purists that aren’t in the media is probably under 1,000 people globally,” Cuban said. “There is no special basketball beauty in walking the ball up the court and dribbling around the perimeter. Will we change that too?”

LeBron James also said this week that he didn’t see a problem with the present rules.

In May, Rockets guard James Harden spoke out against the strategy.

- Jeremy Woo

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