Goaltending rule getting more FIBA friendly?

NBA Commissioner David Stern was in Phoenix Tuesday night for the San Antonio Spurs-Phoenix Suns game and before the game held a press conference.  As usual, Stern and his eventual successor Adam Silver fielded a ton of questions.  One topic that has been gaining some traction is the issue of instant replay and how it pertains to goaltending. 

Stern said there has been some discussion among the competition committee about changing what is and what isn’t considered goaltending and being able to use instant replay to check whether a play is a clean block.  The commissioner even said if he had it his way, the NBA would adopt FIBA’s goaltending rule.

“What we want to do (with instant replay) is get it right, without killing the flow of the game,” Stern said. “My proposal, which doesn’t get any respect at all,  is to eliminate basket interference. It hits the rim, adopt the European rule — it’s in play. You know, ‘Is the hand just over the cylinder? Or not?’ Why task the referees with that? Just do it the European way. It’ll make free throw misses more fun too. But that’s not something that I have been successful on.”

If you’re a Spurs fan you probably like this move because 40 percent of their front line has played international ball.  Also, it doesn’t mean you have to be an explosive leaper to block a shot.  And in case you didn’t know, the Spurs do not have a ton of leapers on the front line. 

Bigger picture, I think Stern is doing what he can to bring the NBA and FIBA rules closer together in case the NBA ever puts a team or teams in Europe.  I also like what he said about it making free throw misses more fun.  Who says Stern doesn’t know how to have a good time.

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