NBA may use “Coach Challenge” rule next season


The NBA has been using the G-League as a testing Lab implementing new rules there before using it in the big league. This is not news. On the other hand, the NBA considering to apply the “Coach Challenge” rule in the upcoming season is.

What’s the “Coach Challenge” you ask?

The coach’s challenge enables NBA G League coaches to initiate instant replay review of referee calls of personal or shooting fouls, including offensive fouls, as well as those plays that have been identified as triggers for instant replay. Violations such as traveling, and palming may not be challenged, nor can continuations or act-of-shooting determinations. A timeout must be called to initiate a challenge. If the challenge is successful, the team keeps their timeout and the call is overturned. If the challenge is unsuccessful the team loses their timeout and the call stands.”, according to the league.

This rule has been tweaked over the years to perfect its usage as a blueprint for future implementation in the NBA. For instance, in the past season the rule could only be used during the fourth quarter and overtimes in opposition to the seasons before when teams could challenge anytime during the whole game. Last season each team could only challenge once for game and league also dictates the reviews cannot last longer than 75 seconds.

The NBA has been flirting with the idea of using this innovative rule in the upcoming season. Things being taken into consideration: the success rate of the challenges. If coaches ask to overlook a call and most of the times it turns out the referee was right, obviously this going-into-the-major-league thing will lose hype. In the other side, if coaches turn out to be right most of times, and for that, it’s also important that coaches are using the opportunity to call the challenge in an opportune way, so in this case maybe the new rule will eventually have ended up in the NBA rules book the next season.

According to the G-League data:

  • 2015–16: 232 challenges75 overturned32.3 percent success rate

  • 2016–17: 249 challenges81 overturned32.5 percent success rate

It seems to be a high acceptance rate around the league. Take Detroit Pistons assistant coach Rex Walters, former G-League coach of the Grand Rapids Drive word: “There’s no question I loved the change to challenge calls. Luckily, I had a great staff so as a first-year coach I leaned on them a little bit. You have to be timely and my staff were always on alert for potential calls to overturn during the fourth quarter.”

Or Scott Morison, also an assistant coach in the NBA for the Boston Celtics, former Maine Red Claws coach, opinion: “I’m definitely in favor of having the rule in place. It’s a chance to get calls right and honestly it’s good for coaching and referee relations, because you don’t have to scream and yell, you can simply challenge the call.”

The rule would be huge news for the league. Coaches would gain more power of intervention and at the end of the day fans win the more correct calls the game has.

Personally, I think it would work. There are more angles, the HQ and the option to challenge calls might lead to less conflict overall. I think this rule only has benefits if used in the NBA, and it could help lessen the negative attention missed calls get publicly.”, Morrison added.

And Walters seems to agree. “I think people want to get it right. Challenges can be a good thing and as a purist in terms of fair play, I love it. There’s honestly no better reality TV than the NBA.”

Coach Challenge” could be in play.