Community Shootaround: FIBA Rules

There may be plenty of NBA players at the Summer Olympics, but it doesn’t take long to realize that these aren’t NBA games. They’re shorter, for starters, lasting just 40 minutes instead of 48, with the number of fouls for disqualification cut from six to five. But that’s just one of many adjustments that pro players had to make when they started playing internationally 24 years ago. Here are few other key areas in which FIBA rules are different:

  • Fewer time outs. When NBA games are close, the final minutes often drag out because both teams have saved so many time outs. The NBA gives each team six full time outs per game, along with one 20-second time out per half and three more in overtime. FIBA rules provide two timeouts in the first half, three in the second half and one extra for each overtime.
  • No live-ball time outs. The only time that time outs are permitted is when the clock is already stopped, and they must be called by the bench through the scorer’s table. That means players can’t call time out when they’re trapped and teams can’t stop the clock before each posession in the final minutes.
  • Shorter 3-point line. The FIBA 3-pointer is measured at 6.25 meters [or 20 feet, 6.25 inches], compared to between 22 feet and 23 feet, 9 inches in the NBA. The closer line makes for an easier shot, but it also puts more pressure on defenses to defend the 3-point line.
  • Basket interference: In international play, the ball is fair game once it hits the rim, and both teams are free to guide it through or knock it away. In the NBA, the ball must clear the cylinder before anyone can touch it.
  • Zone defense. There are no defensive three-seconds calls in FIBA basketball. Teams can play any type of zone they want and can keep all five defenders in the lane for the entire possession if they think that’s the best strategy.
  • Shorter shot clock on offensive rebounds. In the NBA, an offensive rebound means a new 24-second clock, but in FIBA it is only reset to 14 seconds. That speeds up the action and can help teams trying to come from behind late in a game.
  • Fewer jump balls. FIBA uses the possession arrow just like college basketball. The only jump ball takes place at the start of the game.

That brings us to our question for tonight: Which of these rules would you like to see brought to the NBA and how would they improve the pro game?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. We look forward to what you have to say.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

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4 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: FIBA Rules

  1. Connorsoxfan

    Basket interference adjustments would make the game a bit more interesting as you would see more rebounds and put backs.

  2. Steve

    I would love for the NBA to address timeouts. There are WAY too many called at the end of games that make it almost unbearable to watch on occasions. I wouldn’t be upset about no live-ball timeouts either.

    Shorter 3-point line is dumb. It’ll just encourage more 3-point shooting, which is already happening every year in the NBA. No reason to shorten it.

    No basket interference would probably get ridiculous in the NBA very quickly. FIBA doesn’t have the athletes that the NBA has to fully take advantage of that on a daily basis. Every time the ball touches the rim, someone would be there waiting to swat it away, especially if they did away with the defensive 3 second calls as well, which would be dumb.

    I do like the idea of a shorter shot clock on offensive rebounds, and I’m indifferent on the jump balls.

    I would love to see the NBA do something about block/charge calls. I wouldn’t be opposed to getting rid of charges all together to make the defender actually have to play the ball.


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