The Detroit Pistons’ Andre Drummond set an NBA record with 23 missed free throws (13-of-36), after the Houston Rockets intentionally fouled him like crazy on Wednesday night.
Trailing 56-47 to start the second half, the Rockets put seldom-used guard K.J. McDaniels into the game with one purpose: immediately and repeatedly foul Drummond, a 35% free throw shooter. McDaniels did as told, fouling Drummond five times in nine seconds. (Five team fouls are needed in a quarter to get into the penalty for free throws.)
Strange But True: K.J. McDaniels fouled Andre Drummond 5 times in 9 seconds to start the 2nd half. pic.twitter.com/uCkSEvTmnw
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 21, 2016
K.J. McDaniels’ final stat line:
The Rockets would end up fouling Drummond a total of 12 consecutive times to start the half. As a result, the Pistons didn’t even shoot their first field goal attempt until there was 9:08 on the clock in the third quarter.
The “Hack-a-Dre” strategy actually worked for Houston, as Drummond would go 5-of-16 on the free throws attempted, and the Rockets took the lead less than four minutes into the half. However, Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy would eventually pull Drummond after having enough of this circus and Detroit went on to win the game 123-114.
The “Hack-A _” stuff is lame and ridiculous, but it’s also allowed and can end up being a worthwhile strategic move, as it was for the Rockets at the beginning of the third quarter. But the NBA needs to do something about this, and Pro Basketball Talk’s Kurt Helin has an idea:
The league needs to make a change (I suggest a simple one — if a player is fouled off the ball the aggrieved team can choose free throws or the ball out-of-bounds).
This is an easy, sensible solution, and the NBA should absolutely consider it.