It’s time, it’s well past time. The call must be made for an NBA version of the NFL’s Coaches Challenge. Too many games have been affected by bad calls accidentally made, or in the case of Tim Donaghy, made with malicious intent.
A Coaches Challenge would help the game immensely and is possible with the technology that already exists. Plus, it would only require a few added rules.
Here’s TheLongTalk’s Take -
– Each coach gets a physical Challenge Flag and two challenges per half. They can use both in on quarter or one in each, but first half challenges do not carry over to the second half.
(However if a coach does not use either of his first half challenges, he gets a $500 bonus)
– The head coach or one of his assistants would be required to push a button, on a device wired directly to the scorers table, to issue a challenge. The head coach would then be required to toss an actual flag onto the floor, but not onto the court. Only the head coach would be permitted to toss the physical flag. This is to prevent confusion in the event that an assistant coach pushes the button by mistake or without authority. Both actions must be taken, the button must be pushed and the flag must be tossed.
(The button device should be wired directly to the scorers table, not wireless. This will help prevent tampering and would ensure that the refs and the scorers table know exactly when the challenge was issued.)
– Only plays that have taken place before the challenge button was pushed, within 12 seconds, can be review. The flag being tossed does not affect the time span for review, only the button matters when it comes to time. The flag is for the purpose of visually alerting the ref to a challenge.
– A play cannot be review, even if it takes place within 12 seconds of the button being pushed, if play has been stopped then started and a new play has begun.
– Once issued all challenges are reviewed at the next stop in play. Play is never stopped to address a challenge.
(That’s why the button must be pushed, so that there is an electronic marker at the point when the challenge was issued, in the event that play continues uninterrupted for more then 12 seconds after the play in question.)
– A coach can challenge any call or noncall made by the refs.
– The coach must be specific about the infraction or missed call he is challenging and must issue the challenge within 12 second of it’s occurrence.
– The first challenge of each half is gone as soon as it is used. If a coach uses his second challenge of the half in the 1st or 3rd quarter, it is also burned. But if the second challenge of a half comes in the 2nd or 4th quarter, and is upheld, the coach gets that challenge back and can us it one more time.
(A sort of bonus third challenge)
– A challenge that is not upheld is always burned.
– If a challenge is not upheld, the team that was challenged gets a single free throw, before play begins again. Because challenges can only be reviewed during a stop in play, a challenge that is not upheld will have no effect on the game, other then a short delay in play. The free throw can be taken by any player who was on the court at the time of the challenge. Play would continue with the time, score, fouls, etc. all exactly as they were before the review. Nothing would change except a possible addition of one point, due to a made free throw.
(Like they would for a technical)
– If a challenge is upheld, then the game clock goes back to the moment of the infraction and play begins again from that point forward as if the call had been made correctly. No free throw is awarded for a upheld challenge. However if the challenge was that a foul should have been called and that foul wasn’t and if the review finds that the challenge is correct. Play would begin again, from the moment when the challenge was issued, as if the foul had occurred.
(This is a HUGE change in the way the game is played, but it cannot be done any other way. TheLongTalk has heard some suggest – mostly in relation to punishing floppers – that the play could be corrected with free throws at the next stop of play or before the beginning of the next quarter. That would not work, the fix has to be as immediate as possible and the game must continue from that point forward as if the play had been called correctly all along.)
– A challenge that is upheld cannot be challenged a second time by the opposing coach, nor can the same play be challenged.
– All refs do not have to be in agreement in order for a challenge to be upheld. A coach would simple need a 2/3rds majority.
So here’s an example…
Spurs are down by 2, Duncan has the ball. He pump fakes, gets Amare in the air and tosses up an attempt. Amare smashes into Duncan, the shot misses, the refs swallow their whistles.
In this situation Pop can tell his assistant to push the button. He’d then have to take the flag out of his pocket and toss it on the sideline.
Even if Carmelo has grabbed the rebound, sprinted down court and hit a go ahead 3 (or more precisely a go even further ahead 3) Pop’s challenge will be review, before the ball comes back in bounds after Melo’s points. (Which would have been the next stop in play)
Because Pop’s challenge is electronically marked at the moment it was made, and he knows exactly what play he wants reviewed, he can now tell the refs he wants Timmy shot double checked.
The refs would then review together. Now Joey Crawford happens to be calling this game and he doesn’t see a foul on Duncan, even though the replay shows that he was the closest ref to the play and the foul is clear as day. The other two refs can vote to uphold the challenge and Joey is just out in the cold.
Since the challenge has been upheld and Timmy was in the act of shooting, the clock is now turned back to the moment of the infraction. A foul is assigned to Amare, and Duncan goes to the foul line. Also Melo’s play on the other end of the court, the play that took place after the infraction…. it’s erased. That 3 never happened.
Tim now steps to the line, the way he should have all along, and calmly swishes two free throws. Game tied. Knicks take the ball out of bounds and play begins again as if the last few seconds had never happened.
Also Mike Woodson would not be allowed to ask for a re-review of the play, nor would he be able to issue a challenge for something else that may or may not have happened within that same 12 second span. First coach to the button with a clear idea of what mistake was made, gets the challenge.
So that’s the idea. That’s TheLongTalk’s Coaches Challenge plan. What do you think? What works, what doesn’t? Do you have any suggestions?
This is a work in progress,