The NBA’s Competition Committee is recommending an expansion of instant replay to include late-game reviews of block/charge plays, the first time the league is considering reviewing judgment calls by a referee.
NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson announced the decision on Wednesday after the committee met during the NBA Finals.
Current rules only allow officials to see if a player’s feet are in the restricted area under the basket or out of it in the final two minutes of the game or in overtime. The change would allow officials to get a closer, slow-motion look at a collision between two players to deem if it was a blocking foul on the defense or a charging foul on the offense, one of the most disputed and difficult-to-call plays in the game.
”This is significant,” Jackson said at an NBA Cares event to celebrate a new learn and play center at Wheatley Middle School. ”It’s our first foray into utilizing instant replay for a judgment call. It at least cracks the door open.”
When Commissioner David Stern addressed the media before the start the finals, he said that expanding replay and using the technology that was available was a priority.
”We’ve always taken the stance that we want to look at ways to expand instant replay review, just because it makes sense,” Jackson said. ”The referees themselves have supported it because they just want to get the plays right. We’re constantly looking for ways to utilize review.”
The committee also is recommending to the NBA’s board of governors that replay be expanded to include off-the-ball fouls on inbounds plays and made free throws.
The committee discussed an idea by Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle that would give each coach one challenge to in the last 2 minutes of playoff games to contest calls. If a coach has a timeout and the ball during that time, he could challenge a play.
The play would then be reviewed off site by a group of league officials, similar to the way the NHL handles replays. But those ideas are still under discussion.
”It’s not fleshed out enough to make a recommendation, but we’re going to continue to talk about it,” Jackson said.
The committee is also recommending that a new rule be put in place to prevent players from standing out of bounds on offense in halfcourt sets.
Jackson said this is an increasing trend that they have seen this season, with players on offense standing out of bounds in half-court offense in an effort to suck the perimeter defense further away from the paint and create better spacing.
Under the proposed change, any player committing what would be a new infraction would be whistled for a violation, and the ball would change possession. Jackson said this wouldn’t apply to a player who runs out of bounds while curling around a screen or trying to separate from a defender, only when he is stationary and standing out of bounds during a halfcourt offensive set.
Stern also said last week that he thought the league has made great strides by instituting a fine system for players who flop, but felt even more needed to be done to continue to discourage the behavior.
Jackson said the committee discussed increasing the fines or other punishments, but was not making any recommendations for changes at this time.
”It was unanimous among the committee that the flopping system, the policy, has worked this year,” Jackson said. ”But there was also an acknowledgement that we’re open to discussing how we continue to enforce the flopping policy.”
The committee also is recommending a change in the wording for clear-path fouls that it hopes will eliminate some of the need for replay reviews of those plays.