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  •  Your story quite correctly points out how the (6+ / 0-)

    24 second clock saved the NBA, a for profit entertainment venture. What it ignores is the perspective of many of us old timers who think the clock, and thr run and gun mentality it brought with it, ruined the game.
    Prior to the clock, watching basketball was often as exciting to the casual fan as watching a chess match. With human bodies in their underwear bumping and grinding to gain some small advantage until the high percentage shot presented itself. Compared to today's game it was more like a rugby scrum.
    No one can deny the incredible athleticism and fan excitement of today's game, but I. for one, would be just as happy watching a 20-19 game as a 120-105 one.
    I played thirty two seasons in low level leagues, some with the clock, some without. I even played in what were called "slow break" leagues where the ball could not "draw iron" until ten seconds had elapsed or the defense was set up, whichever came first. The refs carried a bicycle horn which they would toot when the threshhold had been met.
    If what you like is basketball as entertainment, i.e., putting paid asses in the seats, the 24 second clock is for you. If what you like is the push and shove, pick and screen, old fashioned ball, like they play down at the Y, or the playground, the clock is an abomination.
    Perhaps the most exciting two and a half minutes of college basketball I've ever seen took place in the finals of the 1961 NIT, then on a par with the NCAA for prestige. A fella named Johnny Egan of Providence College dribbled out those last two and half minutes to preserve a one point victory as defenders chased him all over the court trying to steal the ball or even commit a foul.
    Johnny Egan wasn't just a good staller, he lasted eleven seasons in the NBA with the clock, but his heroics that day would be impossible under the current rules.

    I had a brother at Khe Sanh, fightin' off them Viet Cong, they're still there, but he's all gone. The Boss

    by DaNang65 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:54:00 AM PDT

    •  not having lived in the pre-shot clock era, (8+ / 0-)

      I couldn't tell you about the experience about how exciting it was watching those games vs. the games of today.  But, here's a question I would pose: How is the shot clock responsible for ruining the game?  There were games in the pre-shot clock era in which teams would hold the ball for a single possession for an entire quarter, without even shooting the ball.  The shot clock, however, forces teams on offense to apply all fundamental aspects of basketball -- passing, motion, setting screens, driving to the basket, and most importantly, getting a good shot, and doing it all in a specific window of time -- much like chess players in professional tournaments have a set limit of time to make their move.  Without the shot clock, that last element no longer applies.

      The shot clock also forced teams to have to play tougher defense -- the big increase in field goal attempts and points scored meant that players would have to work harder to stop the other team from scoring.

      •  The stall was an art, and a direct challenge to (4+ / 0-)

        the defense. Bear in mind the "five second, closely guarded" rule, that is, if the player in possession of the ball was closely guarded (meaning, roughly, within arm's length) he must advance the ball or pass it to a team mate. I have played in games where our point guard would stand, ball on his hip, for one, two, five minutes until a defender came out to closely guard him. The whole point was to prevent tight, packed in zone defenses that made high percentage shots impossible.
        Perhaps the best analogy is to two good defensive football teams, each three and outing the other to a 0-0 tie at the end of regulation. Perhaps two or more overtimes, until somebody makes a mistake.
        To me that is every bit as exciting as watching Dr. J, or Michael, or Kobe, or LBJ, demostrate their incredible talents as individuals.
        The low scoring mentality relies far more heavily on the entire team concept, as the other team will quickly find and attempt to exploit the weakest links.
        But then again I'm the kind of sports fan who finds as much enjoyment in watching the strong safety, say, fill in for the linebacker drawn out of position to cover the pulling guard. It's not all about the ball carrier.
        I don't know if that makes it any clearer for you, I hope so.

        I had a brother at Khe Sanh, fightin' off them Viet Cong, they're still there, but he's all gone. The Boss

        by DaNang65 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:24:37 AM PDT

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        •  well, I think the football analogy (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Radlein, DaNang65, Larsstephens

          would be more apt if, after snapping the ball, the entire offense stood there, without making a move to exploit the defense, for entire minutes at a time, and the defense didn't react at all.  Or better yet, if there was no play clock in between downs, so that an offense could gain a few yards on a single run, then just hold the ball indefinitely.

          I agree that tough defensive battles are exciting to watch, and shouldn't be dismissed outright because scoring isn't necessarily high enough.  But, I'm not sure the low scoring mentality helps the team focus more on the team concept -- because in the pre-shot clock era, there were several players who didn't get to participate on offense or defense at all, even when they were in the game, due to indefinite stalling tactics.

          •  Two things my first high school b-ball coach (5+ / 0-)

            taught, admittedly this was the 1950's: First, on the first day of tryouts he began "Gentlemen, this is a basketball. There are three things you can do with it; pass it, dribble it, or shoot it. If you want to play for me you'll choose them in that order" Second, he preached time after time, "One Nothing is a Win".
            If you ever saw a properly executed stall, think Dean Smith's "Four Corners Offense", every player was constantly involved, sometimes in the sense of Castenda's Don Juan "A warrior knows that he is waiting, and he knows what he is waiting for."
            Many times a seemingly uninvolved player was "waiting", usually for the moment of inattention or distraction by his defender, to make a backdoor cut. The four corners bored casual fans, so the NCAA outlawed it, but it was a thing of beauty to watch, especially with Phil Ford at the point.

            I had a brother at Khe Sanh, fightin' off them Viet Cong, they're still there, but he's all gone. The Boss

            by DaNang65 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:54:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  sounds like Gene Hackman's words from "Hoosiers" (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ER Doc, DaNang65, Larsstephens

              about requiring his players to pass the ball four times before shooting, if only to teach the fundamentals.

              •  When Bob Knight was winning (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ER Doc, Larsstephens, SuperBowlXX

                NCAA championships at Indiana his rule was three passes, but the idea is the same. When I watch a team that I haven't seen before one of the things I like most is when all five players get a "touch" on the first possession. Even the guys there aren't any plays in the playbook for, maybe especially them.
                It's a team building thing.

                I had a brother at Khe Sanh, fightin' off them Viet Cong, they're still there, but he's all gone. The Boss

                by DaNang65 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 12:50:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  I see your perspective, but the shock (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      clock for just a pure entertainment was needed in the game, in both the college and professional level, as well as the three point line.

      It help raise the level of the game by making it a chess match at a clearly higher and needed speed, and prevented a team from really holding the ball at an absurd time level.

      With it, basketball would not have grown clearly in most people's minds around the game.

      •  While your point is perfectly correct (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens

        as to basketball becoming an entertainment venue, to repeat myself, putting paid asses in the seats, the game, as it used to be played, on the floor, was far more suited to the non-athletically gifted.
        It's one of the reasons I've become a fan of women's b-ball, not that the players aren't athletically gifted, particularly at the highest levels, but women generally play a much more team oriented game, where most of the significant action takes place not on the ball handler, but one or two passes, picks, and screens away from how the play eventually turns out.
        Similarly with team defense, it's not the one woman to beat, but the second and third defender rotating properly, that makes the game enjoyable, at least for this old timer.
        It's like the difference between fast pitch and slow pitch sofball. In fast pitch the team with the best pitcher almost always wins. Nobody can hit him/her. In slow pitch everybody can hit the ball, the question becomes how the defense, as a team, handles it.
        There's an inherent contradiction in my example, since fast pitch games are often 1-0 or 2-1, while slow pitch game are often 20-18 affairs.
        What is not contradictory, IMHO, is that in one case a superstar can carry a so called team, in the other it takes the entire team to prevail.

        I had a brother at Khe Sanh, fightin' off them Viet Cong, they're still there, but he's all gone. The Boss

        by DaNang65 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:44:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But you're acting like Bob Cousy wasn't athletic (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ed Tracey

          or Jerry West or Pistol Pete weren't superb athletes. They were terrific athletes as well.

          And last time I checked, the women's NCAA, the WNBA, and the defunct ABL (which was a better league than the WNBA when they both started) did use the shot clock.

          •  There's so many parts to your comment that I'm (0+ / 0-)

            not sure where to begin replying. Perhaps by going last to first.
            All of the leagues you mention are professional despite the NCAA's protestations to the contrary, the money comes from putting paid butts on the seats. That is, they're not played by guys/gals for the love of the game, but the price of admission. Most, if not all, fans of today, pay to see action, which they have been conditioned to see as the run and gun, time clock's winding down, version of the game. I admit it's great fan entertainment, much more understanable to the usual fan than a seemingly slow moving (despite the constant action away from the ball) of no shot clock ball. It takes a real afficiando to appreciate the picks, blocks, screens, etc. which lead to the high percentage shot. And I don't mean 40% from the field, I'm talking 80% or better.
            Cousy and Maravich were magicians with the ball, but any number of current NBA pine riders would eat their lunch on defense. The Logo is a bit more problematic, his competitiveness would probably earn him a spot on anybody's NBA roster, but he certainly wouldn't be the star today he was then.

            Especially since you brought up Cousy, who was recruited to Holy Cross out of Andrew Jackson H.S. in the Bronx by the physician who delivered me and treated me until I left home, let me bring up one of his starting team mates "Jungle" Jim Luscotoff, who may have had an athletic bone in his body, but he kept it well hidden. Or even Cousy's running mate at guard, Bill Sharman, an incredibly good shooter who couldn't guard anybody. Or Tommy "Ack Ack" Heinsohn, who's 6'8 height was a tremendous asset for a Fifties player but athletic, please.
            For my money, since this somehow seems to be about white guys in the NBA, Steve Nash is as gifted as anybody you mention, but who can he guard?

            I had a brother at Khe Sanh, fightin' off them Viet Cong, they're still there, but he's all gone. The Boss

            by DaNang65 on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 05:04:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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