The NBA’s board of governors are expected to make some changes to the rules in this upcoming season. One of those changes includes resetting the shot clock after an offensive rebound to 14 seconds from 24. These changes will simplify the clear-path foul rule and expand the definition of the “hostile act”, according to the league. The NBA sent a memo to the league’s general managers and coaches late last week to outline the unanimous recommendations of the league’s competition committee to the board of governors. The board of governors has yet to vote on these rule changes, but are expected to do so on September 20th and 21st. They will need a two-thirds majority in order to pass this legislation.
The NBA believes that resetting the shot clock to 14 seconds after offensive rebounds will increase shot attempts, especially at the end of a close game. The NBA studied FIBA’s implementation of the rule in 2014, as well as its use in the G League, WNBA and NBA summer league games. By shortening the clock, it speeds up the game and will lead to more shot attempts. Of course, this is going to have an impact in close games where we see a point guard attempting to run the clock, while the defense tries to do something in order to keep the game moving.
This proposed change would simplify the current rule, and would now be when a foul occurs to any offensive player that “deprives the offensive team of transition scoring opportunity”, and while “the ball is ahead of the tip of the circle in the backcourt, no defensive player is ahead of the offensive player with the scoring opportunity and that offensive player is in control of the ball or a pass to him has been released.” The big adjustment here is that a play would no longer need to start in the backcourt to be a clear-path foul and referees would only have to determine if the player in control of the ball or set to receive a pass that’s already been released is ahead of all defenders.
What is a hostile act? Currently, the NBA describes a hostile act as something “that is not part of normal basketball play”, such as “when a player intentionally or recklessly harms or attempts to harm another player with a punch, elbow, kick or blow to the head”. Meaning, you can’t get dirty. If the proposed amendment is passed, the league will now extend replay beyond player-to-player to include incidents in which a “hostile act” occurs between a player and a coach, referee, or fan.
Will this improve the game? I think that it certainly sends a message to players that things aren’t working out right now. If you’ve ever watched a game, where a player simply dribbled around mindlessly in order to run the clock down towards the end of the game, you know how boring it can be. This may help the game, but I guess we will see what the 2018-2019 season brings.