To Foul or Not To Foul: What The Washington Wizards Would Do | Wizards Blog Truth About

To Foul or Not To Foul: What The Washington Wizards Would Do

Updated: April 6, 2010

Eight seconds left in the game. Your team is up three points, having just hit two free-throws making the score 90-87. Your opponent must go the length of the court, i.e., no timeouts left in the NBA or a regular made basket scenario in college.

Do you foul and put your opponent on the line for two-free throws (no fouls to give/in double-bonus)?

Or do you play straight-up defense, allowing the other team a chance to tie the game with a three?

Opponent can be a factor, and that did come up when I posed this basketball strategy question to several Wizards before Sunday’s Nets game: Mike Miller, Quinton Ross, Cedric Jackson, James Singleton, Al Thornton, Randy Foye, Cartier Martin and JaVale McGee. Here’s what they had to say:

For the record:

  • Miller definitely fouls.
  • Jackson probably fouls.
  • Ross doesn’t foul.
  • Singleton fouls, but wonders about the opponent, then reiterates foul … but his final verdict is that he wants to play defense.
  • Thornton said it depends on the opponent, probably fouls if playing the Lakers or Cavs, otherwise wants to play tough defense.
  • Foye fouls.
  • Martin talks foul.
  • McGee fouls at first, but then chooses to let the other team shoot, even against Kobe or LeBron.

Counting the tally, four players would foul, three want to play defense, and one, Thornton, is kinda caught in the middle.

What do you say?

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.

  • Incandescent Rex

    I’m becoming a big Singleton fan. Dude is likeable.

  • hibachi202

    I like Singleton, but he has no offensive game whatsoever. Tough defender & rebounder though.

  • ZonkerBrainless

    Never ever foul in that situation. Ever. You foul, they make two free throws, three seconds left, one point lead. Now you have to make two free throws plus you’re in the same situation you were in before. So you can do nothing but make yourself worse off.

    Or just play good defense and run the clock out. You’ve got about a 33% chance of the game tied up with a three, at worst an additional 20% chance of being down by one with three seconds to go (where you were above) and a 40-45% chance of winning outright. I’d take that gamble over the one above any day.

  • dcinmd

    I guess no one watched the Kansas State game???

    I have never been a fan of giving the other team points when you are in the lead and there is time on the clock. If you don’t have enough confindence in your defence you should not be in the league.

    Ever since they changed the Away from the play rule it become increasing dangerous to foul in these type of situations. I know we pay them millions and except them to play D to. Whats the world coming tooo?

    Section X–Away-From-The-Play Foul
    a. During the last two minutes of the fourth period or overtime period(s) with the offensive team in possession of the ball, all personal fouls which are assessed against the defensive team prior to the ball being released on a throw-in and/or away-from-the-play, shall be administered as follows:
    (1) A personal foul and team foul shall be assessed and one free throw attempt shall be awarded. The free throw may be attempted by any play-er in the game at the time the personal foul was committed.
    (2) If the foul occurs when the ball is inbounds, the offended team shall be awarded the ball at the nearest point where play was interrupted but no nearer to the baseline than the free throw line extended.
    (3) If the foul occurs prior to the release on a throw-in, the offended team shall be awarded the ball at the original throw-in spot, with all privileges, if

  • While I think it makes sense to trust your defense, especially if the team is better than the Wiz, I have to foul. This only is because studies show that fouling is better. I am sure there is a more updated one than this, but this is the first that came to mind.

    So make sure that Miller, Foye, Martin and Jackson are vocal in this hypothetical situation.