Chris Sheridan notes that LeBron James opened Team USA’s exhibition game against Turkey with a FIBA move, swatting a ball that had hit the rim and was likely to bound into the hoop away from the basket. That’s goaltending in America, but legitimate defense under FIBA rules.
That seems like an important step to me. Over the past few years, I’ve consistently thought that the fact that the rules have been an underplayed problem for American teams in international competitions — it’s hard when our guys are playing under unfamiliar rules that their opponents are familiar with. But it seems that this year the players and the coaching staff are putting more emphasis on getting people to think about how the FIBA ruleset should effect their behavior.