top of page

Steve Kerr On The Differences Between FIBA & NBA. "It's An Adjustment"

Basketball is a game that transcends borders, with leagues and competitions around the world showcasing top-tier talent. Among the most celebrated are the NBA (National Basketball Association) in the United States and FIBA (International Basketball Federation) competitions held internationally. While both leagues exhibit high-level basketball, they feature distinct rule differences that can pose significant adjustments for NBA players and coaches when they step onto the global stage of FIBA competition.

One of the most prominent rule differences lies in the placement of the ball during out-of-bounds plays. In the NBA, the ball is inbounded from the sideline, whereas in FIBA competitions, it is taken out of bounds from underneath the hoop. This simple variation may seem inconsequential, but its impact on offensive and defensive strategies can be substantial.

Steve Kerr, the head coach of the USA Men's Basketball team and the Golden State Warriors, eloquently highlighted the importance of understanding these rule differences, stating, "Learning the FIBA rules, one of the rules, for example, the ball is taken out of bounds underneath all the time in FIBA, whereas in the NBA it's on the sideline, so statistically if you run eight baseline out of bounds plays a game in FIBA, two and a half in the NBA, so better execute offensively, better execute defensively on those eight specific plays, we almost lost, well, we did lose a preliminary game to France two years ago when they scored on I think three out of bounds plays in the 2nd half."

This insight from Coach Kerr highlights the need for precise execution in both offensive and defensive plays under FIBA rules. With the ball inbounded from underneath the hoop, teams have more opportunities to employ baseline out-of-bounds plays, demanding a higher level of preparation and execution.

Beyond out-of-bounds plays, NBA and FIBA competitions differ in two other key areas: goaltending rules and the shot clock reset on offensive rebounds.

1. **Goaltending Rules:**

In the NBA, goaltending is strictly prohibited. This means that defensive players are not allowed to touch the ball on its downward trajectory towards the basket or when it's directly above the rim. If a defender interferes with the ball during these moments, the offensive team is awarded the points for the shot attempt. However, in FIBA competitions, goaltending is permitted when the ball is on its downward path or above the rim, as long as it is still touching the cylinder. This distinct goaltending rule can impact defensive strategies and the timing of shot block attempts for both players and coaches.

2. **Shot Clock Reset on Offensive Rebounds:**

Another key difference between the NBA and FIBA competitions is the shot clock reset after an offensive rebound. In the NBA, when an offensive team secures an offensive rebound, the shot clock resets to 14 seconds, providing them with an extended possession to score. On the other hand, in FIBA competitions, the shot clock resets to a full 24 seconds, granting the offensive team more time to set up their play and potentially reset their offensive strategy. This disparity can lead to different tempo and pacing of the game, requiring NBA players and coaches to adjust their timing and offensive tactics when competing internationally.

Understanding and adapting to these additional rule differences are crucial for NBA players and coaches when transitioning to FIBA competitions. With nuances in goaltending and shot clock resets, teams need to fine-tune their strategies to thrive on the global basketball stage. As the international basketball landscape continues to grow, recognizing these rule variations becomes even more vital for those seeking success beyond the borders of the NBA.


bottom of page