Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Changing to international rules

Via TrueHoop, we get the news that Canadian college basketball will be adopting international (i.e. FIBA) rules for the coming season. This change reportedly leaves the USA as the only country not playing under FIBA rules. I don't necessarily think FIBA rules are better than the NBA rules, but I also don't see how they're any worse. I think I'd be perfectly happy if the NBA decided to adopt FIBA rules (or at least the FIBA court dimensions).

Yes, the lane is wider, but the NBA lane has been widened before to open up the middle (I believe it was widened originally because of George Mikan and then widened again later). Skilled big men will still be able to post-up even with the wider lane, and other players will have more room to cut through the lane. The only "downside" I can see is that power players will find it harder to catch the ball in the post and bulldoze the defenders until they're under the basket because they'll be starting from further away. Somehow the possible elimination of this sort of play doesn't make me feel particularly sad.

And, yes, the international 3-point line is shorter than the NBA 3-point line, but who cares? "People" (I hate the using the amorphous "they," but I don't feel like searching through old articles to find specific examples) say that the problem with a closer 3-point line is that it allows defenders to sag more into the lane and still recover to the shooters. Well, I have a pretty simple solution to that problem--tell the shooters to shoot from a few feet behind the 3-point line (i.e. from the distance they're currently shooting from). Either the extra space this spacing creates is worthwhile or its not, but offenses can choose whether they prefer the closer, more contested shot or the more distant, less contested shot. Nothing forces players to shoot 3-pointers from closer to the basket just because the line has been moved in.

I know American pride might be hurt by the idea that the rules of "our" game (we invented it, damn it!) are being handed down by people from other countries, but sometimes being part of an international game means needing to relinquish control of it in some ways. I doubt the NBA will switch to FIBA rules anytime in the near future, but I think it'll happen eventually.

1 comment:

Louis said...

Switching to FIBA rules along with FIBA dimensions makes sense. The NBA wants to project its product as an international product, the champions are frequently called World Champions by commentators, and there are more and more international players at the college and pro-levels. Why not switch the more generally used rules. Who knows, maybe if it works it will inspire another try to in the Metric System.