I very much enjoyed watching this year’s summer Olympics, especially since there was a little bit of tension and uncertainty with the men’s basketball team this year after some sloppy play in the group stages. FIBA basketball is very much a different beast than the NBA and it was fun seeing these guys play under a slightly different rule set.
Generally, I feel like the NBA pretty much has it down pat. Most of its rules (the bigger court and three point line, the 48 minutes of play, etc.) make the game harder but given that it’s the most competitive basketball league in the world, that’s fine. However, there are some things that FIBA does differently that I feel would make the NBA better.
One such rule is the goaltending rule, which the NBA is already considering adopting (it’s already instituted in the D-League) For those that don’t know, in FIBA basketball the ball is live once it hits the rim. That means you can tip it out or put it back without having to worry about interference. While some arguments for this rule include the potential for cooler plays (putback dunks especially), the best reason for it in my opinion is that it makes it simpler to call for the referees.
However it was the technical foul rule that FIBA uses that intrigued me the most. Like many basketball fans, I absolutely can’t stand when a player complains most of the game about bad calls. Technicals are meant to discourage this behavior as are suspensions when players reach a certain point. FIBA’s technical rules are even more discouraging as they give two free throws for a technical, AND the technical counts as a personal foul. I particularly like the second part of that rule (one free throw for a tech still seems the most fair to me). I don’t have any statistics to back it up, but I’m going to go ahead and assume that most techs occur after a player picks up a foul they didn’t commit. Under FIBA rules, if they get a tech, they get yet another foul which limits their playing time even more. That’s a big deterrent, and one that I think could help the league in the long run.