NBA verses FIBA(Olympics/European) Basketball Rules

Posted: August 5, 2016 in AVC Men's Basketball, AVC Men's BB 2016-17, Player, Professionals

We are coming to the end of the “professional basketball week” which has highlighted Antelope Valley College graduates who played and are playing professional basketball.

Below is an excerpt for July 29, 2016 Wall Street Journal about the difference between NBA verses Olympic basketball.  With so many AVC basketball players signing with professional basketball teams around the world and the NBA, I thought it would be interesting for the fans to see the differences in basketball rules. 

Olympic basketball  and NBA basketball are like veganism and vegetarianism. Most people don’t notice the differences. But the people who do know they’re nothing alike. 

The court is smaller at the Olympics. The quarters are shorter. The ball is greasier, the rules are tweaked and, most curious of all, the 3-point line is closer to the basket. 

That last change seems cosmetic, and yet its effect is transformational: The worst shot in the NBA becomes the best shot in the Olympics. 

This increasingly reviled shot is the long 2-pointer. NBA teams have shied away from shooting on the wrong side of the 3-point line as they have become more obsessed with efficiency in recent years. There’s a reason those shots make insomniacs out of coaches: They go in at roughly the same rate as shots from one step back—except they’re worth one point less. 

But the 3-point line in the NBA is nearly two feet deeper than the FIBA arc. It’s almost the same distance as the shorter corner 3-pointer that NBA teams like to exploit. At the Olympics, a 22-foot shot isn’t wretched. It’s welcome. 

It was while familiarizing himself with the intricacies of international basketball that Kyle Lowry suddenly realized how different Rio de Janeiro would be for his Toronto Raptors teammate DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan is known around the league for being one of the last NBA guards who still likes to shoot long twos. But in Rio, those long twos will be short threes. Which gave Lowry an idea.

“Maybe he’ll be a consistent 3-point shooter,” he said. “I doubt it. But maybe.” 

There are a lot more differences than I will state, but these are the major differences between NBA and FIBA Basketball Game Rules:

  1. Game time (40 min vs 48 min)
  2. player is disqualified after 5 fouls at FIBA vs 6 at NBA
  3. three-point distance (23 feet and 9 inches away from the backboard vs 22 ft 2 in)
  4. Time-outs

    In the NBA, there are two types of time-outs: 100 (60)-second ones and 20-second ones. Each team is allowed to benefit from up to six time-outs during regulation play (four quarters), but no more than three in the fourth period. They are allowed one 20-second time-out in every half and one in each overtime. The timeout can be requested by a head coach or by a player in control of the ball. If neither of the teams requests any timeouts during a period, the game officials have to call a number of mandatory timeouts, mainly for commercial reasons.

    In FIBA regulations, teams are allowed to benefit from two time-outs in the first half, three in the second half, and one in each overtime. Every time-out is one minute long, except for occasional TV time-outs, which may or may not be included by the organizer of the game. If the organizer wishes, they may include one TV time-out per quarter (none in overtimes), with a length of 60 to 100 seconds, but this is in no way mandatory. In fact, these are rarely applied. Regular (non-commercial) time-outs may only be requested by coaches (not by players) and may only be granted when the ball is dead.

  5. Game Spirit

    It is not only the strict letter of regulations that referees have to consider when officiating. There is also the so-called ‘spirit of the game’, which allows referees and officials to give different meanings to rules in cases which are not completely specified in the regulation. This too, is different. The best example for this is when they will not call a traveling violation against a player on a fast break, even though he has taken three steps without dribbling, on lay-up; but they will allow him to go on ahead and score his goal if no defender has any chance of reaching him, in order to make the game dynamic and entertaining. This will often happen in the NBA but not in FIBA-officiated games.

Needless to say, the differences are much more detailed and would take hundreds of pages to be explained thoroughly. But it is interesting to think about NBA players who are used to their home rules, having to play in FIBA-governed championships. And, vice versa, even though that is much rarer.

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