Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Major League Baseball just increased its use of instant replay? What do you think of the state of replay in the NBA? Want more? Less? Different?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: More replay, please. Just less disruption of the game’s flow while getting calls right. This speaks to the concept of an off-site replay system that could expedite rulings while minimizing the time needed to make them. NBA commissioner David Stern and deputy Adam Silver sound like advocates for this NHL-like process, so it’s likely to happen. When it does — and when the replays are handled swiftly, without three game refs huddling over a monitor for a half-minute too long — I expect we’ll see added use. At some point, I think each coach will be allotted some number of “challenges” similar to what the NFL does and to what MLB will be trying.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Sure, let’s have replay on every call. Then the Christmas Day games can end on New Year’s Eve. Enough. Enough. Enough already. Besides, if we work toward the goal of getting every single call exactly right, we’ll remove the fun of calling the referee an idiot and eliminate the constant talk of the great NBA conspiracy in favor of large-market teams like the Knicks, who have the fix in to win a championship every 40-50 years.
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: I’m more or less good with NBA replay other than a couple of issues. Last year, replay expanded to rule on goaltending in the final two minutes of regulation or at any time during overtime. I suggest using it at all times. Goaltending doesn’t occur all that often, it affects the actual score and I think it would require only a short game stoppage. Also — and we’ll have to see how this season’s new rule plays out — but I’m not looking forward to refs going to replay with the ability to change a block/charge call, which occur quite frequently. These are split-second calls and arguably the toughest to make, so just go with it. I’ll suggest the refs get this call right more often than not, and is it really worth another stoppage, and potentially excessive stoppages, to review a call that could be tough to determine even in super-slow-mo?
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: It’s just about right. There is the possibility of an increase, whether by adding situations or when the replay should be used. If the points with six minutes to go in the first quarter count the same as the ones in the final 30 seconds of the fourth, getting the calls right is just as important. But it’s hard to imagine a decrease in the use of replay.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: There should be a replay official on playoff games. A referee with a TV in front of him on the sidelines would expedite reviews in the last few minutes and also fix any correctable errors during the course of the game. And while we’re at it, let’s get rid of basket interference and let guys touch the ball after it hits the rim, no matter where it is. Trying to determine if the ball is in the cylinder may be more difficult than block-charge, and officials often get that call wrong.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: Here’s what bothers me: How many times have we seen at the end of a game when there’s a contested out-of-bounds call, and the refs gather at the scorer’s table and put on headphones and huddle around a TV and stare … at an image of themselves huddled around a TV staring at an image of themselves? Sure, they eventually escape the rabbit hole and get to the replay, but it’s emblematic of what I feel is the larger issue: The replays can take a really long time. I’m all for getting calls correct, but not at the expense of the the games themselves, which is what it often feels like when there are multiple stoppages of play down the stretch in games. It’s probably impossible to get every call of every game correct, and with all the technology available to us, I applaud the efforts to get as many calls correct as possible. But something has to be done about the implementation of replay as it is in effect today.
Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: It’s a “less is more” situation for me. Basketball is a game of mistakes. Turnovers, bad reads in “D”, wrong choices. The same goes with the referees. They are human — believe it or not — so their good or bad calls are part of the game. A team commits around 20 turnovers a game, so the referees have the right to make a few mistakes of their own. Why expect perfection from them? We wouldn’t like to see Ray Allen shoot a 3-point shot he missed again, do we? The same with the refs.