The NBA announced changes to its intentional foul rules Tuesday following years of debate regarding teams’ various Hack-a-Shaq strategies.
According to the league’s official press release, the NBA Board of Governors approved a rules change for the 2016-17 season that will make the intentional foul rules for the final two minutes of the fourth quarter applicable to the final two minutes of every quarter.
“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,” the league announced.
NBA TV on Twitter relayed Commissioner Adam Silver’s comments about the new rules from a press conference Tuesday in Las Vegas:
According to the release, any foul that occurs prior to an inbounds pass at any stage in a game will be handled the same way as intentional fouls in the last two minutes of a quarter.
Furthermore, the league announced “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.”
Specifically, the league is seeking to outlaw fouls such as this one by Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel:
“In looking at the data and numerous potential solutions to combat the large increase in deliberate away-from-the-play foul situations, we believe these steps offer the most measured approach,” NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe said. “The introduction of these new rules is designed to curb the increase in such fouls without eliminating the strategy entirely.”
Under the new rules, head coaches could increase playing time late in the first, second and third quarters for big men who shoot poorly from the free-throw line.