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The most important rule change in the history of NBA


I'm quite sure players of the early 50s were the only ones not saying ‘’The game was better in my day, players today are soft/spoiled/don’t have any fundamentals”. Why am I so sure? You walk in the arena and the score is 19-18, its safe to assume we are in the first quarter. You have time to grab a snack and a drink and be back for the beginning of the second quarter. Well, that is true in 2018, but it wasn't always like that.

In 1950 you are not in Detroit or in LA. If those two teams are playing you are in Indiana or Minneapolis. On November 22nd, 1950 the Fort Wayne Pistons played the Minneapolis Lakers and the and the game ended 19-18. Not in the first quarter, in the entire game. Only eight total baskets were scored!!

At that time the game did not have a shot clock so the strategy was different. If you managed to get a lead, and by a lead, we are talking two or three points, the game turned into running away from your opponents and running the clock out. It would eventually turn into a foul-fest because the only way to get the ball was to foul the opponent and have them shoot free throws. How bad did it get? In 1953 Boston and Syracuse played a game with 106 fouls and 128 free throws were shot. Cousy scored 30 just from the line.

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Danny Biasone, the owner of the Syracuse Nationals (now the Philadelphia 76ers), came up with the idea of the shot clock. “We needed a time element in our game,” he said. “Other sports had limits — in baseball, you get three outs to score, in football you must make 10 yards in four downs or you lose the ball. But in basketball, if you had the lead and a good ballhandler, you could play around all night.” His suggestion was a 24-second shot clock and luckily it was accepted.

The following 1954/1955 season showed immediate progress. Average points per game increased by 13.1 points and within three years all teams averaged over 100 points per game. Red Auerbach called it “the single most important rule change in the last 50 years.” No argument here.

Quotes and stats courtesy of

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