NBA: When One Second Isn't a Full Second: Time for a Rule Change

Ricardo AparicioCorrespondent INovember 7, 2010

What's wrong with this picture?
What's wrong with this picture?Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

So there's five seconds to shoot, and Kobe Bryant gets double-teamed on the left block.

He tosses the ball out to Fisher who swings it to the top for Artest. With the Thunder covering every pass, Artest gets it to the corner finding Steve Blake.

Jeff Green rushes out to defend the three. Blake spots Pau Gasol open at the rim and wraps a bounce pass around the approaching Green.

But just before the pass finds Gasol, the recovering Serge Ibaka just does get a hand on it, tipping the pass out of bounds. The Lakers have one second left on the shot clock.

But when the possession started, there were 51.8 seconds left in the quarter. Now there are 28.1 seconds left.

And yet the shot clock reads one second.

According to rule, there's only enough time to score on a tip-in. So when the inbounds pass comes in and Bryant attempts a jump shot, it will be a 24-second violation. Why cannot the shot clock display tenths of seconds?

The 24-second clock itself wouldn't have to change much—just start displaying the tenths once the shot clock ticks down below ten seconds. It just seems stupid to have one clock that counts tenths, and the other, more important one does not.

You might say, "Why? When has this situation come into play? What's the point?" Allow me to explain:

1) Why? Well, to clarify situations like the hypothetical one I described, and others.

2) When has that situation come into play?

For one thing, it has probably come into play more often than realized, especially before the NBA started showing tenths of seconds on the game clock.

But more important, we shouldn't have to wait for some sort of controversial event to come up—here is a rare opportunity to get proactive on something.

It is not necessary for every rule change to be a reaction to some sort of black eye for the NBA.

And that's the whole point of this. The NBA always catches hell from the fans every time a rule change is implemented, and that's because the process is always the same: Playoff incident provokes heavy-handed overreaction by the league.

Here's a chance to make a minor but meaningful, completely unobjectionable change. In this case, only the most bitter, most negatively-minded fans would complain about this change. I'll go out on a limb and say the league will even get positive press for this one.