FIBA Official Rules Changes has taken effect from Oct 1, 2010. Some of these changes were approved in 2008, but implemented only now to allow the National Federations ample time to arrange the new court markings.
FIBA Asia will implement these rules in all its events 1st January 2011. Therefore starting January next year all FIBA Asia events will apply the new rules and there would be no excuse whatsoever for not adopting it.
FIBA Official Basketball Rules shall be the principal document governing basketball. The principles and concepts of the rulebook are well specified in the FIBA Official Basketball Rules 2010 Interpretations. Having reviewed the Rules Changes, I have the following highlights to share with you. This, I shall proceed from the “New Court Markings,” where the main changes are reflected.
Click here for New Court Markings and complete new rules.
The Restricted Area
A major change is the measurements and shape of the Restricted Area. The historical trapezoid that is unique to FIBA has been replaced with the Rectangular Restricted Area, similar to NBA marking.
Though the shape of the Restricted Area has changed, the rules and related interpretations remain the same. This change is excellent, as it is simple and easy to mark the rectangle than the trapezoid and time saving.
The overall area has been increased and uniform to allow better maneuver of the players. Unlike the trapezoid where it narrowed towards the Free Throw Line.
In addition, with the rectangle shape, the distance of the players that lined up is equal on both sides of the area. Interference from the opponent lined up nearer to the Free Thrower is lesser with the wider distance.
With the 3 seconds violation rule that still exist, one would wonder these days how many 3 seconds violations would be called by the Referees in a game. The number is negligible.
Therefore, this rule could be redundant as the “Advantage Element” is applied to the offensive players within the restricted area. Resulting where the offensive player is located within the restricted area for more than 3 seconds, but deems to have no advantage gained by the Referee. Then, the 3 seconds violation would not be called. Perhaps in the next rule change, the 3 seconds rules could be further revised or removed to allow free play with the restricted area.
Article 2.4.4. Three Points Field Goal Area
The 3-point field goal semi-circle has been extended from the radius of 6.25 meters to 6.75 meters (difference of 0.5 meters). Though the 3-point area has become slightly smaller, the related rules and interpretations remain the same.
Interesting to note that with the extended radius to 6.75 meters, the critical areas are the 4 corners of the court bounded by the side lines and the end lines in relation to the 3-point radius. The distance to the side lines is only 0.9 meters, which would provide very limited room for the players to maneuver. More so, with the bigger stance of the tall and big players. Violations of stepping on the side or end lines would occur more often.
This spot would become a dead trap which players have to avoid. There by affecting the strategy in tactical setting.
The idea of the extended arc possibly an influence by NBA. We failed to consider NBA is mainly played by professionals. Whereas, FIBA has to cater for the various categories of competitions including the amateurs, the junior boys and girls. It would be a handicap to Asians who are generally smaller built compare with their Western counterparts, to master the 3 pointer shots. Physical and mental strength are vital to produce the power required for consistency in distance shooting.
As a food for thought, the 6.25 meters distance could be maintained for 3 points shots. Whereas 6.75 meters for 4 points shot. This situation would be more interesting bringing about revolutionary change to the development of basketball.
With the setting of different scoring areas (2, 3 and 4 points) encourages more players trying a variety of long range shootings.
Article 17.2.4. Throw-in Lines
A major change is implemented when a time out is taken during the last two minutes of the 4th period or any extra period by the team entitled to possessing of the ball for a throw-in in that team’s back court. Previously the throw-in was administered at the centre line extended will now be administered at the 8.325 meters throw-in line in the front court opposite the score table as shown in the diagram.
This change is good, bringing about more dramatic scenario. Thereby giving an advantage for the losing team to change the situation from defeat to victory if the lead is only marginal (3 or 4 points) in the last few seconds left to end the game.
Administration too is much easy as the thrower-in do not have to stand astride the centre line extended (previous rule). Also the throw-in must be to any player in its front court.
The defensive players would have greater pressure to guard the opponents with tied defend to prevent them from shooting as the throw-in distance is very much closer to the basket.
Officiating is easier as there would likely be no back-court violation.
Col. Lee Kak Kuan
Col Lee Kak Kuan is the FIBA Asia Technical Director with long years of experience in technical matters in the sport. The views expressed here are his personal opinion.