While the NBA is an incredibly progressive sports league, at times, it can be one of the most infuriating and seemingly ass backwards league when it comes officiating. Despite having a replay system run by a dedicated group of individuals at the replay facility in Secaucus, New Jersey, due to the rules governing the triggers for its use and what can and can’t be done, it is often incredibly useless.
The reason for this is because, unless it’s the final two minutes of the game, only clock issues, shot clock violations, potential clear path fouls, physical altercations and flagrant acts, or uncertainty as to whether a shot was two or three point attempt can be reviewed. That means at any other point in the game, if players are fighting for a loose ball and it goes out of bounds, but the officials for instance, aren’t sure who it was off, they can’t issue a review to ensure that the correct team gets possession.
And even then, when it is under 2 minutes, only blocking/charging fouls and possession stemming from an out-of-bounds situation can be overturned upon review.
So, I guess the main questions really are:
- Why shouldn’t they be able to trigger a review if they’re unsure about which team should have possession and overturned the initial ruling prior to the last 2 minutes?
- And why can’t shooting fouls be overturned if upon review, the call is revealed to be incorrect?
Granted, this would inevitably end up slowing down the flow of the game, which the NBA has attempted to speed up over the recent years, however, if the officials aren’t sure which team should have possession of the ball and the technology is there to help them make the correct call, why not let them use it? On top of that, in terms of the shooting fouls, what I’m asking for isn’t that the officials review every single instance where it occurs, but rather, if it is called and they choose to go to the replay monitor to confirm whether or not it was a 3 point attempt, but in the process, realize the call is incorrect, that the defending team not be penalized by giving away free buckets. In this instance, the shooting foul itself cannot trigger a review and either the ball becomes a jump ball or side out for the offensive team with the shot clock NOT resetting.
This way, while the game can indeed be extended, the difference in these instances is negligible because 1) instances of possession uncertainty from officials are typically rare within games and 2) they would already have to be reviewing the play in order to overturn the shooting foul call.
With that being said, I think incorporating these two revisions would not only help to please fans, as nobody wants to give up a possession because an official wasn’t able to discern who it was off and has to confer or arbitrarily decide and because nothing is more frustrating than bad shooting foul calls that result in free throws when there wasn’t even any contact in the first place. Now, the later of course, would only occur if the officials trigger a review for some other instance and then see that no contact was made with the offensive player. And while that may seem crappy and even useless, it’s the only way to prevent every shooting foul from having to be reviewed and I can live with that.