Looking to expedite the league's replay process, the NBA announced its Board of Governors unanimously approved changes Wednesday that will allow its New Jersey-based replay center to make on-the-court calls.
"Many instances in our 15 instant-replay triggers are very straightforward and do not need the involvement of the on-court game officials to accurately determine the result," Kiki VanDeWeghe, NBA executive vice president of basketball operations, said in a statement. "Flow of game is crucial to basketball so a quicker result will help our players and coaches return to action faster."
Under the new rules, the replay center can determine the following play types:
- Two-Point/Three-Point Field Goal (made shot or foul)
- Made Basket—End of Period
- Shot-Clock Violation (on Made Field Goal)
- Clock-Malfunction Situation (non-foul or non-violation involved)
- 24-Second Shot-Clock Reset
- Number of Players on the Court
All of those calls were previously made by on-court officials. The NBA established its replay center for the 2014-15 season, which allowed officials to communicate directly with a call center on reviewable plays. The Association established it to help on-court officials get calls correct in an expedited fashion by giving them zoomed-in replays and allowing them additional eyes on controversial plays.
Under the new rules, some of the more obvious calls will now be reviewed and made in New Jersey. The on-court crew chief will still determine the outcome of the following reviewable plays and will follow the same policy as last season:
- Flagrant Foul
- Clear-Path-to-the-Basket Foul
- Off-Ball Foul
- Player Altercation
- Foul—End of Period
- Shot-Clock Violation (involving foul call)
- Correct Free-Throw Shooter
- Clock-Malfunction Situation (foul or violation involved)
- Restricted Area
At the heart of these changes is the NBA's push to shrink game times. Last season, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver played with the idea of 44-minute games during the preseason, and he's made a concerted effort to lessen the time burden on players and fans. On average, a non-overtime NBA game takes roughly two hours and 15 minutes, which is the shortest average time among the four major professional sports.
Still, in an era of shorter-than-ever attention spans, Silver is smart to find ways to remove any downtime he can. If the NBA can inch closer to the ideal two-hour mark, it would give networks finite ideas on scheduling—like in most cases with soccer.
The replay center has also become part of the NBA's transparency initiative, as the league makes explanations of calls available to fans via its official archive. In a nutshell: The NBA's replay center makes games quicker and less confusing. It's hard to complain about that.
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