With all of Manitoba going to FIBA rules this season, we are faced with a time of uncertainty with many
questions still unanswered.  This has created some fear and unrest in the local basketball community. As we analyze further, this fear may be unwarranted.  Let’s examine some of the issues:

How will the new rules change the

I am sure you know of the obvious rule differences. ( 24 shot clock, 8
second back court, trapezoid, 20’6” 3 pt line, time outs,  etc…) However, will the game be very
different? Players will tell you that the game does not feel all that different
but only time will tell. Here are few key differences you may not have thought
of and how they may or may affect the game in Manitoba.

The pace of the game: In theory, the game should be faster. In a 40 minute
game with a 30 second clock, you will have a minimum of 80 possessions. A 24
sec. clock gives you a minimum of 100. However, that is assuming that every
possession goes the limit. Only the possessions lasting more than 24 seconds
are affected by this math. Fast breaks are still fast breaks; bad shots will
still be bad shots. When the 30 sec. clock came in 4-5 years ago, most coaches
noticed little difference except at the end of games. With it now being 24
seconds, the difference will likely be minimal.

Minimal Change

The style of play: Will teams play more man or zone? If I had guess, I would
say my teams have seen probably 75% man-to-man in recent years. Having the referees
now handling the ball in backcourt on everything will allow teams to set up conservative
zone pressure into half court zone easier on any whistle. This could actually
result in slowing the game down, not speeding it up as the rules intend. The
theory is that this will result in more 3 point shots taken and less of need of
the big player. Really, less of a need for a slower big player that stays
inside all the time and more need for players that can all step out. (Wonder
how Todd MacCullough would have been affected by these rules?)

            Verdict:  Some change likely

Will teams press more? There are two schools of thought on this. First with
the 8 second back court, the opportunity to get some time violations is
available. Also, if you pressure and make it difficult for a team to get into a
half court set, there is little time to recover. Secondly, Why press, and
potentially get yourself out of position or gamble a potentially give up an
easy score? Pressing was designed to speed up the game back when teams could
hold the ball for long periods. This is unnecessary when the team has to play
quickly and shoot quickly with 24/8. Play conservative, don’t get beat easy,
they have to come you in fairly short order anyway, you do not have to force to
action and possibly leave yourself vulnerable.

 Too close to call

International basketball is by far a more physical game, especially away
from the ball. Players are allowed to hold on screens, push inside and bang
each other on cuts. Hand checking and carry ball are also things that are rarely,
if ever called. This is not likely to change. Many of these are styles of
officiating that evolved because of “points of emphasis” over the years in the
various leagues. The NCAA recently had POE on carry ball and hand checks. I was
at the Luther tournament in Saskatchewan
(long time FIBA province) this past year and we were very clearly told hand
checking is not a foul there! (they were not kidding, it was rough) Our referees
are likely to call the game the way they always have with the appropriate rule changes
but with out the trends or old POE considered. They need to be concerned more
about mechanics and getting the rules correct than these subtleties in the
first year. Differences in style will take place gradually over many years.

No change


Timeouts are now requested at the scorers table: This may be a problem. At
the best of times, minor officials are poorly trained kids who are more concerned
with texting their boyfriend in the bleachers, than writing down who got what
foul. Are they now going to be responsible for blowing the horn immediately so
that you get the timeout the want in a key situation?  In other FIBA provinces, they have got around
this by the officials being aware of when coaches are likely to call timeouts
and watching for them to signal. Coaches will also let an official know when
they asked for it so that it is not only on the scorers table, or they ask the
scorers table quite loudly so that the official hears the request. Usually if
coaches and officials are knowledgeable an understand the flow of the game this
is non-issue. Note to PE staff: As a back up plan, train your people PLEASE

No change (I hope)


Time Outs #2. The decrease in timeouts and the inability to get them when
you want can be tough on those coaches who want to control, the end game. I
have heard it said that in FIBA, coaches might as well go sit in the stands in
the last 2 minutes. Some rule changes have made it a bit easier at the end of
games to get a timeout (after you are scored on in the last 2 min.), but still
the players will need to be able to make decisions on the floor way more in
FIBA than they had to NCAA. The coach does have less control. However, I would
argue that coaches that thought they were winning the game on their last second
play call are probably giving themselves way too much credit in 90% of
situations.  More often they have hurt
there team by calling timeout then helped. I have often found that it is better
to not let the defense set up and see what happens, then call a timeout.     

No significant change

Time Outs #3: One interesting twist to the timeout rule that I believe FIBA
stole from the NBA. Timeouts in the last 2 minutes of the fourth quarter and
overtime result in the offense being able to inbound in the front court. This
allows a team to advance the ball without losing time and set a play on the out
of bounds. The purpose of this is to allow for more last second heroics. A very
fan friendly rule.  One catch is that
there must be dead ball to get the time out. Here is a common scenario: Team A
is up by 1 with 2 seconds remaining and is at the free throw line shooting the
second shot. Team B has requested a timeout. If team A makes the free
throw, team B will get the timeout and inbound down court for a chance to win
it. IF team A misses the free throw, Team B will have to 90 feet to
travel in 2 seconds and probably end up heaving a prayer. This will lead to
teams intentionally missing free throws in the last 3-4 seconds of close games.

Good change and bad change

In the end, for better or worse, we will all survive and in 5 years be
asking ourselves what all the fuss was about. The players will probably adapt quickly,
the officials a little more slowly and the coaches make take some more time.

Disagree with my assessment? Think
FIBA is the worst thing to happen to basketball ever? Would you ever tell
someone to miss a FT? Want to become a big-time celebrity blog ger like me? Love my mug shot at the top of the page? Insert rant

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