I 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.
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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.
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.