HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The gap between the NBA game and the international game of basketball continues to shrink at a rapid pace.
FIBA instituted NBA-style rule changes earlier this year (including the dumping of that trapezoid lane, the no-charge zone under the basket and the extended 3-point line). Now comes the NBA’s move towards closing the gap from the other side.
The NBA D-League announced today that is has tweaked its goaltending and overtime rules, the goaltending rule will now mirror the FIBA rule that allows a player to knock the ball away when it is on the rim. Since it serves as, in the words of NBA D-League President Dan Reed, the NBA’s “Research and Development” department, it’s reasonable to assume that it’s just a matter of time before this new goaltending rule is implemented in the NBA.
NBA Commissioner David Stern has been a vocal supporter of changing the rule for years. “As far as I’m concerned, FIBA has it right: It’s in play and the only thing the referee has to judge is, Did it hit the rim? That’s it,” Stern said told Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen last year. “To me, that’s a sensible rule, and it would make foul shooting more fun too.”
The NBA D-League tested the adidas-developed NBA Revolution 30 uniforms you will see on your favorite NBA players this season. So this wouldn’t be the first time the “R&D department” delivered the goods.
If the new goaltending rule is a success in the D-League it could pave the way for one of the most significant rules changes the NBA has seen since the 3-point shot was adopted in the 1979-80 season.
Seriously, can you imagine how crazy it would be to have guys like Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Gerald Wallace, Josh Smith and even an aging but cagey veteran like Kevin Garnett going after the ball while it’s on the cylinder?
Talk about a potential game-changer for some of the league’s elite athletes and craftier players, a new goaltending rule in the NBA could revolutionize the game for some teams and players (the difference in rules go a long way in explaining why some NBA players flourish during international competitions and other struggle, same for the international players that thrive in their game and don’t always make a smooth adjustment to the NBA).