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How different are FIBA rules from those of NBA?

How different are FIBA rules from those of NBA?

 Basketball is one of the world’s most popular sports and always draws people’s attention when it appears at major sports events like the ongoing 2018 Asian Games and the coming 2019 FIBA World Cup, not mention the NBA. However, the rules of basketball can be so different between games played in NBA and games following FIBA’s standard, that even top players get confused.

In foul-calling, there are four major differences:

First, a player will only be ejected after committing a sixth personal foul in NBA. Under FIBA rules, the number is five, requiring all players to be way more cautious when they are on the court.

Second, the five fouls in FIBA games include technical fouls. That is not the case in NBA where technical fouls are counted independently and it takes two for a player to be taken out of the court.

Third, according to FIBA rules, only multiple fouls committed in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter and the time after that will lead to free throws. In NBA, in the last two minutes of every quarter, committing multiple fouls will send your rival to the free throw line.

Fourth, after five team fouls, every newly committed foul will give the rival team two free throws in NBA, which is also known as “bonus” time. By comparison, the bonus time in FIBA games start after four fouls.

One of the main reasons of the above differences in rules between NBA and FIBA is that the two sides focus on different aspects of the game. With so many monster-level players in the league, NBA attaches more importance to making the game more enjoyable while FIBA pays more attention to equality and fairness.

The biggest impact of rule differences is on Team USA because their players follow NBA rules for most of their careers but have to learn how to play under different rules at the international tournaments. That can cause problems.

For example, at the semi-finals against Lithuania at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, Team USA’s Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins were both ejected in the fourth quarter. After the game, Davis said he was not sure why some of his movements were called fouls.

The main FIBA, NBA and NCAA rule differences are summarised in the following table:

Rule

FIBA

NBA

NCAA

Playing time

4x10 minutes
5 minutes over-time (OT)

4x12 minutes
5 minutes over-time

2x20 minutes
5 minutes over-time

Shot clock

24 seconds
After offensive rebound: 14 seconds

24 seconds

Men: 35 seconds
Women: 30 seconds

3-point line

6.75m (6.60 on baseline)

7.24m (6.70m on baseline)

Men: 6.25m
Women: 6.325m

Time-outs

2 in first half
3 in second half (but only 2 in last two minutes of the 4th period)
1 per OT period
Always 60 seconds
Never carried over

6 regular
2 per OT period
= 60 or 100 seconds
+ 1 short time-out (20 seconds) per half
The second short time-out can be carried over to OT period
!!! additional regulations

4 regular
30 seconds
+ long
60 seconds
Maximum 3 regular and 1 long in second half
!!! additional regulations

Jump ball and alternating possession

Jump ball to star game
The one losing initial jump ball gets possession for the next jump ball situation
Alternating possession between teams thereafter for all jump ball situations

Jump ball to star game
The one losing initial jump ball gets possession to start 2nd and 4th quarters
The one winning initial jump ball gets possession to start 3rd quarter
All other jump ball situations played as "real jump ball"

Jump ball to star game
The one losing initial jump ball gets possession for the next jump ball situation
Alternating possession between teams thereafter for all jump ball situations
Jump ball to start OT

Individual foul

Foul out on 5 (personal and technical)

Foul out on 6 or 2 technical

Foul out on 5 (personal and technical)

Team fouls and bonus free-throws

2 free-throws awarded for each (non-shooting) foul after the 4th period (includes player technical fouls)
Does not include offensive fouls/fouls by team in possession

2 free-throws awarded for each foul after the 4th team foul or last two minutes of each quarter, whichever comes first
Does not include offensive fouls and technical fouls

1 free throw, plus another if the first is successful is awarded on the 7th, 8th and 9th foul of each half; the penalty is increased to two shots on the 10th and subsequent fouls; overtime is an extension of the second half.
Does not include offensive fouls

Technical foul
(penalty)

1 free throw and possession of the ball at centre

1 free throw per technical foul; play resumes at the point of interruption; foul is charged to individual in question (and automatic fine assessed)

2 free throws, play resumes at point of interruption

Goaltending/basket interference

No blocking a ball in downward flight towards the rim.

Once the ball strikes the rim, any player can play the ball (i.e. swat it away or tap it in)

No blocking a ball in downward flight towards the rim.

An imaginary cylinder exists that has the basket as its base. Touching the ball while any part of it is in this cylinder (and still has a chance to go in) is a violation

No blocking a ball in downward flight towards the rim.

An imaginary cylinder exists that has the basket as its base. Touching the ball while any part of it is in this cylinder (and still has a chance to go in) is a violation.

Zone defense

Legal

Legal but…
defensive player may not stay in the lane (a.k.a. key, restricted area) for longer than three seconds if he is not actively guarding an opponent

Legal

Player numbers

00, 0, 1-99

Any one or two digit number

00 (or 0), 1-5, 10-15, 20-25, 30-35, 40-45, 50-55

 

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