What is the reasoning behind the rule that during multiple free throws for personal fouls, a substitute may enter the game only before the final attempt?
Without any real evidence, my guess here is that this is just to cut down the number of interruptions in the game. Imagine the situation:
- Referee blows a foul on a three point attempt
- Before the first free throw, team A substitutes in a player... delay1.
- First free throw happens.
- Before the second free throw, team B substitutes in a couple of players... more delay.
- Second free throw happens.
- Before the third free throw, team A responds to team B's substitution and makes another substitution... yet more delay.
Better just to have one delay before the third shot, rather than three delays.
Note 1: admittedly a small delay in the case of professional teams, but there are a lot of free throws in the game. It's all going to add up.
I think it's just so people can't "ice the shooter" like they try in football by taking timeouts before someone kicks a field goal. There's no statistical proof that delaying tactics like this work (in fact, I think they are slightly counter-productive) but people would definitely still try them. By allowing subs only before the last shot, you at least give the shooter a predictable rhythm to shoot in.