One of the most scrutinized aspects of the NBA has been their inability to properly use instant replay while evaluating plays. From the offsetting of momentum to the additional timeout that each replay provides, we've heard it all.
According to Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated, the NBA is reportedly considering an off-site referee to increase the efficiency of instant replays.
The key to the use of an off-site referee is not only to improve the efficiency of the instant replay, but to expedite the process. If the system sounds familiar, it's likely because the NHL currently uses it.
A system that works significantly better than the current makeup.
“We want to get it right,” [NBA commissioner David] Stern said. “We do have concerns about additional replay, but we’re looking at it. we’re actually even toying with the notion of whether replay can be done off-site review, the way it’s done in the NHL, to relieve the burden on the referees, who are stuck in the middle of intense game-time action.”
[NBA deputy commissioner Adam] Silver added: “An off-site review would potentially speed up the process. … If you have a group of officials in a broadcast center somewhere — [the] location could almost be anywhere in this day of age of digital media — there wouldn’t be that delay which officials need to walk over, turn the monitor around, put the headphones on, call for the replays. You could have off-site officials looking at multiple monitors at once.”
The addition of an off-site referee would certainly provide a quicker evaluation that could help to prevent elongated evaluations that take away from the momentum and overall excitement of an NBA game.
This isn't the first we've heard of the NBA attempting to change the current set of rules, as commissioner David Stern recently spoke on potential changes to the anti-flopping policy. Stern's hope is to increase the penalty for a flop, thus deterring players from doing it altogether.
While this is mere speculation, one can't help but believe that changes in the instant replay process and the potentially altered flopping policies could go hand-in-hand.
This would require an alteration in the penalization, as technical fouls are handed out for a flop. If that were to be the case, the addition of an off-site referee could catch what the in-game judges are unable to see.
If they are to be considered birds of a different feather, however, the addition would be helpful, nonetheless.
The most common time for replay use comes during the waning moments of the fourth quarter. With late shots that could determine games, the referees often make a point to see if a player's foot was on the line for a three-point shot or if the ball was released before the buzzer.
An off-site referee can determine that without the momentum-altering delay that the current referees require.