June 4, 2018 / 9:22 AM / 2 months ago

NBA to test coaches' challenges in Summer League

Potentially following the lead of the NFL and Major League Baseball, the NBA is pondering a system in which coaches may challenge officials’ rulings.

Jan 5, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau argues with referee Ben Taylor (46) during the first half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe said Sunday on Sirius XM NBA Radio that the league will experiment with a challenge format at the Las Vegas Summer League.

“We’ve wanted to do it for years,” VanDeWeghe said in the radio interview, according to USA Today Sports. “The competition committee has been trying to figure out how we actually do this, because there’s some complications. It’s not quite as simple as you might imagine.

“We’ve had it in the G League for a number of years now and it’s been very effective. We’re going to try it in a very limited form in Summer League and we’re going to see how it goes. We’re going to let everybody look at it.”

VanDeWeghe indicated a challenge system is unlikely to be in place when the next NBA season starts in the fall.

“We are very careful in how we implement things,” he said, per USA Today. “We would look at it for a year, in the G League as well, and see what happens. A lot of things that we’re always trying to innovate, we’re always trying to improve the game. We’re always looking at new things. Summer League is a great time to do that. G League is a great place to do that.”

USA Today reported that Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, the president of the NBA Coaches Association, backed VanDeWeghe’s plan.

“For me, it’s not so much about the power of having a challenge, it’s really another layer of protection if a call is missed,” Carlisle said on Sirius XM NBA Radio. “Officials aren’t perfect. They’re men, not machines. If there’s any kind of trigger or something that we can add into the game that’s simple and effective and can potentially prevent us from the big bang, the call that’s really the one that’s a destructive thing, then I’m all in favor of it.”

In the G League, the NBA’s developmental circuit, each team’s coach receives only one challenge per game, and it may be used only on fouls called, goaltending/basket interference and out-of-bounds rulings.

The NBA’s challenge format won’t involve the use of a flag like the one that NFL coaches toss, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported.

Video review in the NBA became a hot topic in the past week when a crucial call was overturned in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Cavaliers star LeBron James originally was ruled to have drawn a charging foul from Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant in the final seconds Thursday with Cleveland ahead by two points. The referees went to replay ostensibly to check whether James’ feet were in the restricted area under the basket, but they wound up reversing the call and ruling a blocking foul on James.

Durant sank the subsequent two free throws to tie the game, and the Warriors ultimately won in overtime.

The NBA announced the next day that the refs had acted correctly on all aspects of the review and the final ruling on the play.

—Field Level Media

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