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The NBA debuts its new and improved shot clock

TechCrunch TechCrunch 7/07/2016 Mark Lelinwalla

That 3…2…1 on a 24-second shot clock never looked better than this. On Thursday, the NBA announced that it has tabbed Tissot for a sleeker and more efficient shot clock, which will debut during Summer League action Friday, before being integrated into all 29 arenas for the tip-off of the 2016-17 season.

The new shot clock uses innovative LED glass technology. In fact, it almost looks like a blown-up version of a smartphone screen with the technology to boot. Wired reports that the new shot clock could even accept firmware updates. Nice.

Besides looking a hell of a lot better than the clunky shot clock the league used for years,  Tissot made the league’s new timepiece a lot more efficient on several fronts.

For starters, it’s free of cables and conductors and nearly transparent when in use, integrating the 24-second, timeout and game clocks all in one piece a hardware — a first for the NBA.  As the clock ticks down from 24, the transition between numbers are instant and undetectable by TV cameras, making for a crispier image for viewers as well as a more definitive source for league referees and the NBA Replay Center when evaluating critical calls like a buzzer-beater for example. Thank God for that, because there’s nothing worse than watching a game-winning shot get waved off because refs screwed up the call.

Perhaps more important that anything, though, is that the Swiss watchmaker’s system will be uniformly adopted by all 30 teams in the NBA, marking a big change from the way it has been with league franchises using a mixed bag of shot clock systems from Darktronics and OES — each of which had its own specific controllers. This system sounds headache-free.

“TISSOT’s expertise and groundbreaking timing system developed exclusively for the NBA will provide us with the most sophisticated shot clock the league has ever had, enhancing our game on the court and providing a sharper viewing experience for fans,” Michael Gliedman, NBA Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer of Information Technology, said in a league press release.

After introducing the 24-second shot clock back in 1954, the league has continuously made enhancements to its systems. But it feels like this Tissot-backed shot clock might stick around for quite some time. And just in case there are any kinks to the new shot clock system, they should be worked out during the Summer League in time for the regular season.

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