Saturday, September 11, 2010

Possible 3-on-3 basketball added to Olympic games?

Interesting article from ESPN regarding possible international basketball rule changes. Here are the cliff notes:
  • As of right now, if the ball is above the rim, a player can touch the ball to try and swat it away before it rolls in the basket in FIBA games. Not allowed in NBA games. Secretary general of FIBA, Patrick Baumann, wants FIBA goaltending rule to be the same as NBA goaltending rule.
  • FIBA will abandon the trapezoid lane in favor of an NBA-sized rectangular lane.
  • FIBA will move the 3-point line back by a half-meter (19½ inches) from its current distance of 20 feet, 6.1 inches.
  • FIBA wants to expand the width of the court by 50 centimeters on each side to give space to players trying to hit a 3 pointer in the corners.
  • Patrick Baumann wants the amount of teams in OLYMPIC play from 12 to 16 for the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.
  • Baumann is also making a push for adding 3-on-3 basketball as a separate competition.
This last point is what I want to talk about.

The rule changes, simply put, are making international basketball more similar to the NBA, which for Americans/human beings rooting for Americans in international play, would enjoy. The lane change from trapezoid to rectangle favors centers posting up closer to the basket. The further the 3 point line is, the harder it is to make the shot, but NBA players who hit 3 pointers shouldn't have a problem adjusting to that. And the widening of the court is simply needed because if you haven't seen any of the games, these players are simply too big for the court they're playing on!

But a push for 3-on3 basketball as a separate competition!? My goodness, that would have some interesting consequences. Let's delve:

As of right now, the 12 man team for each country is the only game basketball gets in the Olympics. Once it's over, it's over. If your country doesn't make the knock out stages, you'd be more inclined to go to ESPN5 to see if your country's Archery team is gonna have a chance to medal. Think of Michael Phelps and Olympic swimming. Think of Apolo Ohno and Olympic Ice Skating. Think of Usain Bolt and Olympic Track and Field. These athletes swim, skate and run at least 3 events each. Phelps got 8 gold medals in 2008 for butterfly events, freestyle, relays and individual medleys. Ohno and olympic ice skating also has relays and long distance and short distance races to medal in. And track and field? Forget about it: 1 mile, 2 mile, relays, 100m, 200m, hurdles etc.

Basketball could gain a lot more exposure and air time on TV if they simply add another event to the games. But let's delve a little deeper:

Apolo Ohno isn't the only American that skates for America. Neither is Usain Bolt the only Jamaican who runs for Jamaica. As of right now, the 12 guys who America sends to the Olympics are the 12 Americans representing USA's ONE team. Would the 3-on-3 competition be limited to 1 team per country, or would a country be able to send multiple teams out to qualifying games and then from there, see who advances to knock out rounds?

If this is the case, I don't see how any trio in the world could topple a LeBron-Wade-Bosh trio, or a Dwight Howard-Chris Paul-Carmelo trio, or a Kobe-Durant-Amare trio, or maybe even a Deron Williams-Tim Duncan-Joe Johnson trio... Well... Maybe Pau Gasol, Ricky Rubio and Rudy Fernandez of Spain could take that last one down... but that's it I think. It'd be very possible for USA to get Gold, Silver and Bronze with the Knock out rounds being 75% American trios.

But let's not just think the US would automatically win like we did in 2004 in Athens... Let's face it, NBA players do NOT play 3-on-3 regularly. It's not like the Americans can do what they're doing now in Turkey: expending all of their energy on running fast breaks and scoring in transition. What would the rules be? It would obviously be a half court game and I'd assume there would be a 3 point line. After you score, do you get the ball back or do you switch off possessions? It's not like Chris Paul or Steve Nash can just run, run, and run some more in the open court.

What would teams look like? You'd obviously need tall people for rebounding purposes. You'd most likely need at least one 3 point threat as to punish defenders for double teaming a large center. And you'd need a go to scorer who can score at will whenever a point is desperately needed.

And for that matter how would score be kept? Assuming there would be a 3 point line, would scoring be 2 pointers and 3 pointers or 1 pointers and 2 pointers? What would you play up to? First to 21 points? First to 11? Teams have to win by 2 points? Would there be a shot clock? Lots of questions for this possible new game.

But either way... I'm intrigued, and depending on the organization of how teams are put together, how many teams are chosen to compete and what the in game rules are, I'd like to see it come to fruition.


Anonymous said...

If they do add 3-man basketball it would probably be to allow more countries to participate. That being the case, they'd probably restrict entry to one team per nation.

James Haley said...

Good point. I'm just wondering how they'd pick the 3 that would represent the US!