NBA to Implement Shot Clock, Clear-Path Rule Changes

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that the NBA’s board of governors is expected to ratify rule changes that will go into effect for the upcoming 2018-19 season. The changes include resetting the shot clock to 14 seconds after an offensive rebound and simplifying the league’s rule for clear-path foul situations.

The NBA reportedly to general managers and coaches around the league detailing the proposed changes. The board of governors will then vote on the potential changes in a meeting scheduled for September 20 and 21 that needs two-thirds majority in order to pass.

The NBA thinks that resetting the shot clock to 14 seconds, rather than a full 24-second restoration, will increase shot attempts and improve pace of play, particularly late in games. FIBA implemented this rule back in 2014, while the G League, Summer League and WNBA have also adopted the rule.

As it stands, the shot clock resets to 24 seconds after the ball hits the rim ahead of an offensive rebound. The rule change will also change the way certain teams approach late-game situations. Now, rather than pulling it out and trying to kill another 24 seconds off the clock after an offensive rebound, those teams will lose 10 seconds of potential possession time. That will certainly make a difference in close games down-the-stretch.

The clear-path foul rule would be modified to where a clear-path situation would be in play in these circumstances:

  1. “A personal foul is committed on any offensive player during his team’s transition scoring opportunity.”
  2. “When the foul occurs, the ball is ahead of the tip of the circle of 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.”
  3. “The defensive foul deprives the offensive team of a transition scoring opportunity.”

When a clear-path foul does occur, the team that was fouled gets two free-throw attempts as well as possession of the ball afterward. The clear-path rule is in play because the league doesn’t want defenses lazily fouling offensive players in order to prevent an easy dunk or layup. The NBA is also in the entertainment business, and dunks would certainly qualify as highlight plays. The league doesn’t want its viewing audience to be deprived of such plays, so it wants to reduce the number of clear-path fouls by penalizing such plays more severely.

The NBA believes the rule change would eliminate the need for such a play to begin in the backcourt. Referees will no longer be required to make a judgment call on whether a defender was in between an offensive player and the basket or whether a defender was ahead of the player that wound up being fouled.

The league will also expand the definition of a “hostile act” in order to trigger a replay review. The rule will now expand beyond interaction from player-to-player, and it will include player interactions with referees, coaches or fans.

The 2018-19 NBA regular season is set to get underway on October 16. Most teams will begin training camps in September.

Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, but he’s willing to take one for the team on that front every now and then.

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