According to a memo reportedly sent Friday morning, the NBA will be experimenting with adding a coach’s challenge to its current replay review system. The trial will begin with summer league basketball next month, but the league “anticipates using the rule during the 2019-20 regular season as part of a pilot program,” according to Zach Lowe of ESPN.
For those of you not closely following the finer points of minor league basketball over these last couple years, the system the NBA is trying out already has a couple seasons under its belt down in the the NBA’s developmental league. Apparently it’s been successful enough for the league office and the NBA’s competition committee to call it up to the big show. Though all expansions of replay review are bad, this system shouldn’t be especially intrusive, since it limits both the circumstances and the opportunities for coaches to challenge plays. Per ESPN:
Coaches will get only one challenge per game, whether it is successful or unsuccessful, according to the memo. They can use it to challenge only called fouls, goaltending, basket interference and plays when the ball is knocked out of bounds, the memo says.
Coaches must have a timeout remaining to use a challenge. The team must call a timeout immediately after the event it would like to challenge, and the coach must “twirl his/her index finger toward the referees” to signal for the challenge, the memo states. If the challenge is successful, the team retains the timeout it used to stop play. If the challenge is unsuccessful, it loses that timeout.
The annoyance and frustration of watching coaches use and misuse and fail to use their challenge each night will be offset somewhat by the joy of watching a red-faced and apoplectic Scott Brooks furiously twirl his finger at every referee in sight before remembering that he has to call a timeout first, and then remembering that he has no timeouts left.