By Ashley Scoby
@AshleyScoby

Andre Drummond might be breathing a little easier next season. The Pistons’ big man has been on the receiving side of teams’ “hack-a-player” strategy for months, and is one of the worst free-throw shooters in the NBA (35 percent). Teams intentionally foul Drummond – and other poor free throw shooters like DeAndre Jordan (43 percent) or Dwight Howard (55 percent) – in an effort to get back possession without allowing points.

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But according to USA Today, NBA commissioner Adam Silver says a rule change could be coming to cut down on the hacking. It’s a strategy that has been around the league for years, really coming to the forefront when Shaquille O’Neal was at his prime.

“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 told USA Today’s NBA A to Z podcast. “It’s just not the way we want to see the game played.”

Once teams start employing the hacking strategy, the basketball gets ugly. Three minutes on the clock drag on for half an hour of real time. The flow and athleticism the NBA is known for is completely eliminated, as fans are forced to watch players grab opponents’ arms before they can even get down the court. That doesn’t even take into account the ugliness that is usually the chosen player’s free-throw shooting motion.

Critics of a potential rule change have long said that any NBA player should just practice more and learn how to make their free throws. But Silver, according to the USA Today podcast he joined, understands the NBA is an “entertainment property.” Fans don’t want to watch stopped action and clanked foul shots, and they likely don’t want to spend close to three hours waiting on a game to conclude.

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According to USA Today, a rule change could come in several different forms, including completely eliminating the practice, putting a cap on the number of times a team can do it, or giving the fouled team the option of taking the ball out of  bounds instead.

Although Drummond is considered a franchise player for the Pistons – and performs admirably in every other area of the game – fans don’t exactly buy tickets to watch him step to the line over and over again. The fourth-year player has shot more than 15 free throws in a game four times this season – including a 13-of-36 performance against Houston in January.

Jordan has similar numbers: four games this year shooting at least 15 foul shots, including 12-of-34 against Portland and 12-of-25 against Denver, both in November.

Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy has previously lamented the fact that he has to sit his franchise player at the ends of close games. He can’t always count on Drummond to produce points when the team needs them most, and when other teams are frequently sending him to the free throw line.

“We can’t play hoping we get one point out of a possession,” Van Gundy said after Detroit’s 109-99 loss to San Antonio in January where he benched Drummond towards the end of the game. “He was 1-for-6 tonight. Over the last five or six games he’s shooting 17 percent. He doesn’t leave me a choice. That’s just the way it goes.”

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Should a rule change eventually come, Drummond and Van Gundy will likely be two of the happiest men in the NBA.