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David Stern suggests replay official, challenges in NBA future

Apr 22, 2011, 10:12 AM EST

NBA Commissioner Stern speaks at the state of the league press conference during the NBA All-Star game weekend in Los Angeles Reuters

I’d like to think David Stern is a huge PBT fan, read Ira Winderman’s post this week and said “that’s a good idea.” But that’s probably not how it went down. Still…

Every year with the playoffs comes the rise in complaints from coaches, fans and players about officiating. Those complaints are usually misguided — Derrick Rose gets all those foul calls because he attacks the rim fearlessly, not because of an NBA conspiracy — but there are legitimate issues. Just ask Denver, they already got an apology from the league.

Ken Berger of CBSSport.com asked David Stern about those foul issues and he had an interesting response — the day for an NBA replay official for the playoffs is not that far off.

“Eventually, you may have someone sitting at a desk rather than having a Talmudic discussion of three referees every time there’s a disputed play,” Stern said. “We might have one person whose job it is to keep the headphones on and always watch. And you might let a coach throw the flag in the last two minutes. We’re striving for accuracy. … We have to find a way to speed the game up, and to get it right. That’s the most important thing.”

Winderman noted earlier this week at PBT that for playoff games there are already four NBA officials in the building (the fourth is there as a backup in case one of the three refereeing the game gets injured). If he’s there, why not use him to review calls?

This isn’t about nitpicking about block-charge. But what if the referee in the TV truck can get a definitive angle that shows the defender in the restricted area on a bang-bang final-seconds play?

To some, the argument is that it would leave much of the process to be determined by the quality of the television production. As it is, TV dominates the process anyway, be it with the scheduling, the added timeouts, the lengths of the games.

Simply put, the NBA has decided that an extra referee at playoff games is not a luxury, but rather a necessity.

So should be getting the calls right, especially with the added means to do so.

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