International basketball court to AmericanizePosted by Inside Hoops
The New York Times (Howard Beck) reports: Winning Olympic gold in Beijing depended partly on Team USA’s ability to cope with the unfamiliar geometry of the international game: a trapezoidal lane, a shallow 3-point arc and a contorted array of driving lanes. But in two years, the trapezoid will be dead, the arc will be a little deeper and the international game will be a bit closer in style to the N.B.A.’s. The lane will become a rectangle, emulating the United States model. The arc will move to 6.75 meters (22.1 feet) — closer to the N.B.A. standard of 22 feet 9 inches — from 6.25 meters (20.5 feet). The changes were among several adopted, to little fanfare, by the International Basketball Federation, known as FIBA, in April. The new rules take effect after the world championships in 2010, so they will be in place for the 2012 Olympics in London. The intent is to sharpen the international game and to make it more uniform from one hemisphere to another, at all levels of play. But the changes will undoubtedly provide a subtle lift to a United States team that probably needs no help.
InsideHoops.com editor says: Regardless of which international team it helps in the somewhat near future, the idea that the entire world will be playing on the same basketball court is a good one, and ultimately does benefit the collective basketball universe in the long run.
More from the New York Times (Howard Beck): In FIBA’s view, the 3-point shot has become too common. In 1984, when the arc was added in international play, only 14 percent of all field-goal attempts were 3-pointers, Baumann said. Now, he added, that number is 40 percent and players routinely make 38 to 40 percent of them. “The board felt that’s no longer now an exceptional shot,” Baumann said. “It felt something needed to be done.”