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Should NBA coaches get NFL style challenge flags?

Aug 20, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT

2013 NBA Finals - Game One 2013 NBA Finals - Game One

I know you’re convinced that Joey Crawford, Bennett Salvatore and Tony Brothers all have it in for your team. (It doesn’t really matter what your team is, every fan base thinks that.) Here’s the thing: by and large the referees get the calls right in a fast moving game where the calls are split second. They do a good job.

But they also miss some calls.

The NBA has instituted and expanded instant replay. Referees can look at whether a shot was a two or a three, whether or not a foul was flagrant, then the league gives officials expanded powers in the final minutes of each half to look at a variety of calls that could impact a game. But is that enough?

Should a coach a couple times a game be able to have the referees review a call?

Think of it like an NFL system where a couple times a game Gregg Popovich or Jason Kidd be able to challenge a call, maybe lose a timeout if they are wrong?

Stephen Curry thinks so and said so at an NBA 2K15 roundtable on Tuesday, as reported by the Washington Post.

“Obviously refs are human and they miss calls,” he Curry said at a roundtable discussion called “NBA 2K15 Unsensored” on Tuesday. “To be able to make sure they got the right one — maybe give the coach a little flag like they do in football and he gets two or three challenges a game to make sure they get the right call, especially in pivotal situations.”

Kevin Durant disagrees.

“I wouldn’t like to see anything changed because I like how the game is played,” the Oklahoma City Thunder star said. “I think it’s perfect how it is. … If you give coach the right to challenge calls … it would take some purity out of the game, I think.”

I like this idea, but I think there needs to be a punishment for being wrong such as losing a timeout, otherwise coaches will use it instead of a timeout to try and break a run by the other team. “Hey, we just gave up 10 in a row, rather than blow a timeout I’m going to challenge that otherwise obvious out of bounds call.”

That said, I think the coaches should have a chance to pick a couple plays for review.

It also would be nice if the NBA referees became consistent with the calls they made off those reviews. Some seem to change crew to crew, day to day. Just ask Doc Rivers.

  1. zickhead - Aug 20, 2014 at 7:22 PM

    If they get 2 challenges a game, it won’t hurt. NBA refs always make turible calls.

    • avb300 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:53 AM

      Yes, it should. Refs always miss calls. I think in the regular season. teams should get 1 or ,maybe 2 challenges and a timeout charged if they’re wrong. In the playoffs teams should definitely get 2. Too many close games in the playoffs can be lost by missed calls/no calls.

      Check out this post on rim protectors:

      • pbtunpaidwriter - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:23 AM

        Nice post man. There’s a lot of surprising players on the list.

  2. lastdukestreetking - Aug 20, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    To answer the title question – NO!!!

  3. charlessb - Aug 20, 2014 at 7:30 PM

    Have to agree with Durant here. Adding flag seems like too much of a gimmick. Though I feel like it will end up being like the 3 point line so people will complain at first but slowly start to love it.

    • scoochpooch - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:53 AM

      3 point line sucks, allows shooters to remain in league when they can’t do anything else related to the sport.

  4. jerdogthompson - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    In short, absolutely yes. I do agree a timeout forfeited for a bad challenge.

    I would take it a step further and have officials in a booth off the court reviewing and making that call ridding the floor refs from that duty thereby speeding up the process.

    It will happen, question of when.

  5. campcouch - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    who needs a flag. the coach just has to yell “challenge” just like he screams “time out”. tell the ref what you want to look at and move on. no different than all of the tv timeouts or other stoppages, but they could be limited to the last 2 minutes of each half. I mean those already take 10 minutes anyways and the only time “critical” plays occur. OR the refs could stop swallowing their whistles at the end of games and get rid of that “let ’em play” mentality. that don’t do that for the rest of the game, why do it at the end.

  6. jcmeyer10 - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    I keep on thinking hockey has it right. Have guys watching the games, who don’t need to pull out that dinky monitor and take 30 minutes to play a replay like a DJ scratches a record.

  7. sportsfan18 - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    I’d like to see all the folks who complain about refs get out there and make better calls…

    THAT would be hilarious.

    In pro sports, with the speed of 10 men that large, many times in a small area, calls ARE going to be missed or made incorrectly.

    Folks want perfection… but perfection doesn’t exist in human endeavors.

  8. lastdukestreetking - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    @jcmeyer10 – NBA is gonna move the reviews to the league office. At some point the NFL should do the same.

    • jcmeyer10 - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:41 PM

      Hopefully. Every league should do it.

  9. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    They’ve got to get rid of some of the replays. Particularly, any option to review clear path fouls. (Here’s a hint: if the guy had an absolute guaranteed two points it was a clear path foul. Otherwise no.)

    The game is getting too slow. I’d rather shaved off a bunch of the newer referee-option replays and add a couple challenges.

    • jcmeyer10 - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:42 PM

      It makes me happy to see guys like Bavetta retire. The players are faster and stronger, why shouldn’t the refs be able to keep up?

  10. usm418 - Aug 20, 2014 at 11:18 PM

    In an era were people watch slow motion replays on 80 inch Ultra HD televisions it’s important to get the calls right. Losing a timeout on a bad challenge would keep the time about the same.

  11. savvybynature - Aug 20, 2014 at 11:51 PM

    Dumbest idea I’ve heard all day.
    Just put a ref in a box watching the game on a giant screen with replays available to them, and let them decide which calls get replayed.
    There are already too many reviews of obvious calls that slow the game down unneccessarily.
    Please don’t copy the NFL. I know that league has had a lot of success, but it has become such a slow-paced game that the product has diminshed in recent seasons imho. It’s downright boring compared to basketball imo.

  12. duhwighthoward - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:40 AM

    how about no refs and no security?

    if some player wants to call foul, he risks getting his azz beat for being a beeyatch.

    • Lujah - Aug 22, 2014 at 8:13 AM

      By who, you? LOL

  13. deadeyedesign23 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:57 AM

    Jesus no. If the goal is to get the call right then just review things that need to be reviewed. Don’t turn it into this asinine arbitrary strategy for coaches.

  14. Lujah - Aug 22, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    “Take some purity out of the game”. What in the blue blazes is durant talking about? That makes no sense. You know what takes away from the purity of the game? Floppers and superstar calls so guys can rack up points on fake fouls.

    I don’t watch football so I’m not familiar with the concept but I love the idea. I would give the coaches two challenges a game. If you get it wrong then you have 1 challenge left. If you get it right you retain your 2 challenges. Taking away timeouts is just stupid.

    Also the review process takes too long. It’s ridiculous. The monitors should be already ready once the call is made. All the refs walk over and get 30 seconds max to review and then make a decision.

    Another option I would like to see is the NBA have a group of refs in a separate area watching monitors from different angles who can make calls and show the play instantly on the big screen. This would be slowly implemented but it’s worth a try. Too many wrong and missed calls in the NBA. They need to try something new to improve accuracy in officiating. Especially when games can be decided by 1-3 points. Every call is crucial in that context.

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