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FIBA, you're killing the game!

FROM time to time, Basketball On The Internet likes to give readers a forum for discussion so today we're reprinting a letter received from a Victorian coach of 35 years standing on where FIBA has taken the game with its latest rule changes.

Take it away ...

MY best guess would be that the good people who work at FIBA are predominately ex-referees or committee member types. I think what I am saying is there is no way you can convince me the rule changes that have come to pass over the past 10 years have helped the game of Basketball.

Here is my take.

As I sat in a recent conference and listened to the latest “tweaking” of the rules and interpretations of our great game, I started to wonder if any of the changes that FIBA has made have been successful.

Let’s look at a few of them, starting with the newest two.

If you watch the NBL like I do, you would have watched in disbelief the game-changing “unsportsmanlike” fouls that have been called this season because the referee has deemed the foul was only committed to stop a breakaway dunk.

I understand the rule was changed to stop the “professional” fouls that happen regularly in Europe, but surely penalising a defender who legitimately plays the ball is unfair and not what the players want called.

If it’s a tackle or a grab, then absolutely. But if a player actually is playing the ball, and in some cases touching the ball, then how can this be unsportmanlike?

We should not deter defenders from trying to play hard and tough defence. This interpretation is going to cause major issues around State Leagues and junior hoops in 2018.

For 100 years you could take basically two steps on a lay-up and everyone was happy. It’s one of the first things we teach kids. Then we teach them the Euro Step Lay-up and then to go left and right.

Because of the spin move NBA players use so frequently, FIBA has decided it’s now OK to take three steps on a lay-up. I sat in a room with some of the top coaches and players in Aussie basketball and watched a video on what is now considered legal.

After a few minutes of disbelief, the room filled with laughter as the attendees almost thought they were being “Punk’d”.

It was inferred that the only way a travel should be called on a lay-up would be if someone tucks the ball under their arm and runs like it’s a game of Rugby.

Why could we just not allow the extra half step for a spin move and not change the fabric of our game? This change I will never understand.

The technical foul on the flop call has been a disaster since it was instigated. Referees have shown they are unable to determine exactly how much contact the defender is taking and calling unwarranted technicals.

Many players get offended when they are called for “flopping” when they believed they were unfairly knocked over. They feel like you are calling them a cheat and questioning their manhood.

Keep in mind it is basically impossible to draw a charge without falling over either, which complicates this even more.

My simple solution is if a defender flops and impacts the offensive player in any way, he gets a personal foul.

The possession arrow has added nothing to the game except take away the uncertainty and interest of a jump ball.

The game is on the line and the defensive team knuckles down and causes a tie up ... then the offence gets the ball back ... BUZZ KILL !!!!

Jump balls are not always won by the tallest person in the jump ball - it’s about the players around the circle. Coaches had strategies on jump balls and it was always great to see someone such as a Jerome Randle find a way to win the ball back against a bigger opponent.

When all the Aussie Leagues went from 48-minute games to 40-minute games, there was some discussion about it but as time has passed people think the 48-minute game has just belonged to the NBA.

I understand 40-minute games fit nicely in a two-hour package for TV coverage but the negative side is this. As far as the NBL is concerned, all the individual records will never be broken which is a shame.

The biggest negative is there is just less court-time for young kids who are riding the NBL benches and dying to play a few minutes. This is now quite a rare event.

Finally, I want to talk about the 14-second re-set on the shot-clock.

Yes, it did speed the game up and certainly made sure that every team runs a high on-ball screen for their point guard but I think it has made the game more than a bit uglier.

We have way more rushed possessions and an individual style basketball which purists do not like.

A general offensive possession is a team runs a quick offence as they have 24 seconds. But if they get an offensive rebound, the 14 seconds only allows enough time for a drive and dish or a one-on-one play.

Basketball should be prettier than that. Ask the San Antonio Spurs.

Each of these changes I believe has not helped the game and in fact I would be willing to bet the majority of players and coaches would be very happy if all these changes were never made.

After all, doesn’t the game really belong to the people who play it?

Jan 8

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