What To Expect From The NBA’s New Replay Rules

The NBA continues to find new ways to improve its product.

The NBA’s Competition Committee recommended two changes to the instant replay rules and the NBA Board of Governors on Tuesday unanimously approved them. 

Just like that, the NBA, already a booming business in the sports and entertainment global space, has added another element of intrigue, excitement, and sh*t that makes the fans go nuts. 

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Some will like it. Others feel like it would make a regular season NBA game even more unwatchable.

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It might cause a little delay until implementations are mastered, but getting calls wrong at crucial times is never good for the integrity of a league that has had referee scandals in the past. 

The first change is the introduction of a Coach’s Challenge (flag) to trigger an instant replay review. Coaches can challenge personal fouls, out of bounds and goaltending or basket interference calls.

Each team is allowed one challenge per game. As with other replay reviews, in order to overturn the referee’s call, there must be clear and conclusive visual evidence that the call was incorrect. 

A version of the Coach’s Challenge that has been in effect in the NBA G League for the last two seasons and is being used at MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2019 will be adopted in the NBA on a one-year trial basis during the 2019-20 season.

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The second change enables the NBA Replay Center (in addition to the on-court referees) to trigger instant reviews on 2 or 3-point shots rulings and shot clock violations. It will be implemented for the 2019-20 NBA season.

“These initiatives further strengthen our officiating program and help referees make the right call,” said NBA President, League Operations Byron Spruell.  “Giving head coaches a voice will enhance the confidence in our replay process among teams and fans and add a new, exciting strategic element to our game. Enabling the NBA Replay Center to trigger instant replay will improve game flow and provide real-time awareness of any adjustments to the score.”

According to NBA.com, “A new ‘courtside administrator,’ hired and supervised by the League Office, will be stationed at the scorer’s table to facilitate and expedite communication between the NBA Replay Center and the on-court referees.  The courtside administrator will not have any decision-making authority with respect to officiating calls or replay determinations.” 

 

Other elements of newly implemented replay rules, according to NBA.com

In the last two minutes of the fourth period or the last two minutes of overtime, a called out-of-bounds violation or called goaltending/basket interference violation will not be challenging and instead will be exclusively triggered by on-court referees.

To initiate a challenge, a team must immediately call a legal timeout and the head coach must immediately signal for a challenge by twirling his/her finger toward the referees.

 If a team attempts to challenge an event with no remaining timeouts, the team is charged an excessive timeout, for which the penalty is a technical foul, and no challenge will take place.
 

If a team calls a timeout to challenge an event that may not be reviewed, the team will be charged a timeout but retain its challenge.

The NBA is always searching for ways to improve the product and while some leagues just do things for the sake of doing it, the NBA always seems to have a method to its madness, so by adding an element of reality TV  and suspense to the mix, the league also appears to really want to respond to things that the fans feel the game needs. 

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.