Monday, April 27, 2009


Boys high school basketball players in Washington state will have some adjusting to do as the WIAA passed an amendment that would add a
35 second shot clock to the boys game. Washington is only the 7th state in the nation to do so. So why change now? It seems the modern movement in all of sports is for action. With the fast paced text messaging age upon us people want their sports to be action packed. New school fans want lots of scoring and they want it now (its not long before we will see a shot clock in soccer and golf). This is a travesty in the minds of the retro generation.

High school basketball is a great game that is different then the college and NBA game. It is more patient, more based on teamwork and more about discipline. It is not about what the fans want, its about what is best for the athletes. The main reasons for the change seems to contradict this philosophy. The shot clock contingent seem to believe that high school basketball needs to be more like the college game. According to this modern thought it should develop more individual skills in the players so best to prepare them for the college game. But very few high school basketball players will play college basketball (1 in 12) and even fewer will go onto the NBA. The high school game is about teaching players to be disciplined with and without the ball and to be patient. What better way teach discipline and teamwork then to be allowed to work for a good shot by passing the ball. No longer will we see the Princeton style offense of patience till you can get a backdoor. Instead we will see panic as the shot clock gets down too low. "Oh no...12 on the clock...shoot quick...hurry...hurry...shoot. Remember, patience is a virtue, panic is problem.

Another common reason for moving to a shot clock is to avoid the stalling offense. No more holding the ball at the end of the game and making teams foul. Fans are tired of watching a team get ahead and then stall the last 2 minutes. Yes, teams will not be able to hold the ball as long but it will not solve the problem of fouling. Teams will still have to foul down the stretch it will just happen later in the game. By adding the shot clock you may get rid of the stall but you are creating more problems in the process. The rich will get richer as the top athletes will dominate. No longer will you see the "Hoosier" type underdog have a chance against the "Goliaths". Teams will have fewer strategies to go to when they are out manned. The best teams will dominate and you will not have as much parity. Also you will see the top teams beating the weaker teams by more points because now they have to shoot within 35 seconds. No longer can a coach say to his team that is up by 30..."guys lets pass the ball around until we get a layup". Margin of victory will increase and teams will be demoralized.

If we look at the history of the shot clock in college basketball we will see that it has not produced more points but it has produced less. The all time high in points per game in the NCAA pre shot clock was in 1971 at 77.7 points per game. You would think that after the shot clock was introduced in 1986 the average would go up... but it didn't. In fact it went down to 69.4. the same average as the pre shot clock year of 1985. If you throw in the advent of the 3 point line in 1987, you would imagine that the average points would sky rocket but that was not the case either as by 1997 the average was only 70.6. So the shot clock did not help increase scoring. I would go on to say that I think it will actually decrease scoring in the high school game. As more players begin to shoot bad shots as the shot clock winds down, they will also miss more shots. Field goal percentage and scoring will therefore decrease.

So why is Washington introducing the shot clock to boys basketball? I am not really sure but I know that if it isn't broken why fix it. Washington needs to slow down and go retro.

Top 10 Reasons Why I Don't Like The Shot Clock

1) The high school game is a great why mess with it.
2) We will see less teamwork, discipline and patience
3) It will cost more to implement
4) The best teams will dominate and fewer upsets
5) More fouls as teams will drive more when the clock gets low
6) Lower shooting percentages
7) Fewer off ball screens and more on ball screens
8) More NBA 1 on 1
9) No more cool delay games and Princeton offenses
10) Larger margins of victory.

Let me know what you think about the shot clock.

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