Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Rules: FIBA vs. NBA vs. NCAA

A couple days ago, True Hoop had a post touching upon Johnny Hollinger's rant on why FIBA's rules are so markedly different from the NBA's.

As I've been watching the Worlds, something I've been pondering is what would be my ideal set of rules if we could standardize across the board.

[For reference, here is an excellent site breaking down FIBA vs. U.S. rules.]

Here's what I came up with:
I've really grown to like this thing, which is 12' wide at the FT line, bowing out to 19'8" at the baseline (as opposed to the NBA's 16'). I just like how it spaces the floor, and forces big men to be more skillful than powerful.

From NBA
The international line (20'6") is not quite as ridiculous as the college line (19'9"), which drives me crazy and is a big reason that I have trouble watching the college game, esp. now that they shoot 3's at will. Put it like this: I am several years past my prime, such as it was, yet my fat ass can still get out there right now and knock down 3's from the international and college lines. And that's not right. Make it a man's shot: 23'9" down to 22" in the corner.

One way or the other, this one really needs to be standardized just because it's such an instinctual play that I think it's really unfair to players who aren't used to the rule. Maybe it's because I'm American, but I like the rule that you can't touch it in the cylinder. That said, I'm willing to accept the international rule if that means it's standardized - that's all I want with this one.

I really like this rule. I think it's really cheap when a team allows a guy to penetrate all the way to the goal but then some guy steps in under the hoop to draw a charge, as can be done in FIBA and NCAA. It's not good defense to let a guy get to the basket, and you shouldn't be rewarded for it.

FIBA and NCAA go alternate possession, which is just kind of wussy to me. Jump em up on a held ball and let the players go after it! Jump balls late in close games can really be quite tense and exciting.

I just like how the NBA closes all the little loopholes in terms of things like stopping the clock after buckets in the last two minutes, not allowing fouls prior to the pass on inbounds, its rules on breakaway/clear path fouls etc., although they've gotten way too soft in terms of calling flagrant fouls every time a guy lands awkwardly, regardless of intent.

NBA has none, FIBA has one but only on held balls. I like that the NCAA calls it on the dribble as well. I don't think there's any rule that promotes team play as well as this one. There were rumors that the NBA was going to institute it when they made their big rule changes a couple years ago, and I think it's too bad that it didn't happen.

It just seems unnatural to change a tried-and-true rule in order to articifially up the tempo, as the NBA and FIBA have done is cutting the 10-second count down to 8. But I suppose you could argue that the shot clock and three-point line are just as artifical. So maybe I should just deal with it.

Can't decide
I like to think of myself as a purist, and I really want to support zone defenses with no restrictions, but I have to admit that I like how the NBA's defensive three-second rule opens up the court and forces defenders to have some agility. I'm torn.

Likewise, the 40-minute game feels like the right length for a basketball game, but I'm bred on following the 48-minute game, and I can't really imagine the NBA game at anything but that. [Note: I'm cool with 5 fouls per player in FIBA - 1 foul/8 mins is the right ratio. 6 fouls in 40, like the WNBA has, and the Big East had in its 3-hour-long game era, is awful.]

In general
This falls under the basket interference category - just standardize it one way or the other! Ridiculous that the balls are different sizes.

Thank goodness FIBA has gone to three refs per game - the officiating has been markedly better in Japan as opposed to Athens, when they had two, though there are still decidedly bizarre calls quite often.


At 2:24 PM, Blogger Brian said...

what about timeouts? I like the FIBA rules. Both the number of timeouts and how you can call timeouts.

At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Luke said...

I'm not sure you can have both a trapezoidal lane, and a defensive three-second rule. It would force the defenders to move too far away from the basket too frequently in a zone, essentailly requiring man-to-man D.

At 9:11 AM, Blogger Westy said...

Good post.
I like the rundown. Let's hope someone takes up the charge to gain some standardization on a few of these items.

My thoughts:
I'd say I agree with you on the trapezoid lane. How the defensive 3-seconds would work is a good question, though.

I wouldn't mind the international 3-point line staying as long as the NCAA went to that distance. That makes it a nice step up from high school to college to the NBA. And I don't think it hurts the NBA players to have the shorter shot in international play as it seems that much easier for them as they're used to the longer line.

I definitely think the basket interference rule should be the one used in the NBA.

I too would like to see the charge-restricted area added for college and international.

I'm fine with the alternating possession, however. The difference in possessions is inconsequential, while rewarding the team who wins the opening jump when more evenly matched jumpers compete.

I also think the NBA has done a better job of cleaning up the little things in the game. The NBA has better-trained referees watching for a more finely-tuned set of rules. Related, though, I wouldn't mind seeing the no timeouts during live play rule in the NBA. I would like seeing less play stoppage at the end of games.

Lastly, most importantly, the ball size needs to be standardized. Whatever the size, pick it and go with it. As you note, it's ridiculous. Which leaves me again asking, "How did we end up with different ball sizes?"

At 10:20 AM, Blogger M. Haubs said...

Brian: I would agree that fewer TOs is better (I would think there might be some sort of modifications coming to the NBA, as I recently saw a quote from D. Stern complaining about end-of-game length). I prefer allowing both players and coaches to call TO's, though no TO's in live play is an interesting concept. (P.S. I really enjoy your blog)

Luke: Great point. I'd hadn't thought about that. They'd have to concoct something different.

Westy: I agree with your point about the NBA having the best-trained refs, which is kinda funny considering how maligned they are. But their quality really stands out when you watch these FIBA jokers.

At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Make the rules scalable for various levels of play; I'm comfortable with different rules concerning the 3-point line, game length, ball size, etc. for different genders and age groups.

8 minutes per foul is also right.

But I agree--for grown men (including college), one standard ball size should be used.

At 1:46 AM, Blogger Sam said...

I'm totally in favor of hand-checking... something international play allows. Makes people man up!

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