Hack-A-DeAndre vs. CP3 from halfcourt
By JAKE FISCHER
College Contributor Network
With 4:15 remaining in the fourth quarter on Sunday night, the Boston Celtics intentionally fouled Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, trailing the visiting Clippers 111-97. Boston was amidst a valiant attempt to overcome a 35-point deficit and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens opted to foul Jordan, a 38.7 percent free throw shooter, 94 feet from the basket.
Jordan walked the length of the TD Garden's parquet court. He missed both foul shots.
Boston fouled Jordan five times between the moment he re-entered the game with 4:16 left and before the two-minute mark -- the deadline for when NBA teams can intentionally foul a player away from the ball without it being whistled for a technical.
Jordan shot just 2-for-10 from the line.
After Jae Crowder sank a long two-point jumper with 2:39 remaining, Chris Paul rampantly dribbled up the court following the ensuing inbounds pass and heaved a half-court prayer just moments after the Celtics fouled Jordan for the final time of the evening. If Paul had made the shot just as Boston fouled Jordan, his chuck would have counted as a 50-foot three-pointer and Jordan would have shot a subsequent and-1 free throw.
Which begs the question: Facing Hack-a-DeAndre situations, would the Clippers be better off with Paul lofting half-court bombs over sending Jordan to the line for tow shots?
Jordan's a career 41.6 percent free throw shooter. So, for this exercise, let's say he shoots 40 percent - a mark about half-way between his career rate and this season's percentage. Shooting 40 percent at the free throw line would generate 0.8 points per possession. To achieve 0.8 points per possession from beyond three-point land, a player would have to shoot 26.7 percent.
Now, with daily practice - specifically as much practice time as Jordan spends on free throws - is it impossible that Chris Paul, a career 36.2 percent three-point shooter, could shoot just over 25 percent, or make one in four attempts from half court before opposing teams hack Jordan?
The math makes the concept nowhere near as ridiculous as it first seems. And with Jordan defending at such an elite level - he's currently first in rebounding and third in blocks - the Clippers need him on the floor in crunch time.
Perhaps this strategy would make it easier to stomach Jordan's offensive struggles, especially when opponents employ a Hack-a-DeAndre strategy.
It's certainly something for Doc Rivers to ponder.
Jake Fischer is a junior at Northeastern University. He covers the NBA for SLAM Magazine and SB Nation, writes for the Boston Globe and lives and dies with the Philadelphia 76ers. Follow him on Twitter: @JakeLFischer