NBA To Experiment With Coach’s Challenges

by June 28, 2019
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Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz and a Ref

The NBA will implement a coach’s challenge in summer league and anticipates using the rule on a trial basis during the 2019-20 campaign, Zach Lowe of ESPN reports. News of the trial was issued in a memo to teams.

Teams will get a single coach’s challenge per game and that challenge will disappear whether a challenge successfully overturns a call or not. Coach’s will challenge plays by calling a timeout immediately after the supposed infraction and indicating the challenge.

If the challenge is successful, the team will retain the timeout that they just called. If unsuccessful, the timeout will be gone, a mechanic similar to that used in the National Football League.

Challenges will only be permitted for a select list of events.

  • Called fouls
  • Goaltending
  • Basket interference
  • Plays when the ball is knocked out of bounds

The addition of a challenge comes at an interesting time in NBA history when the league faces pressure on multiple fronts.

On one hand, the league has seen relationships between players and game officials sour over perceived missed calls but on the other there seems to be a general, inevitable trend in the sports world pushing viewers toward shorter games and faster paces of play.

The 2019-20 trial will be just that, an experiment to test the concept, and there’s no guarantee that it would remain beyond next season. That said, as Lowe writes, the fact that the list of events eligible to be challenged isn’t longer could indicate that those for and those against a more ambitious challenge plan may have landed somewhere in the middle.