The NBA’s competition committee met Wednesday in San Antonio, and is making recommendations on expanding instant replay to include a few more potentially critical situations, according to a report from the Associated Press.
The bigger news, however, is that this is the first time that the league would allow plays that are judgment calls made by the officials to be potentially overturned following video review. To this point, only plays that have an objectively factual conclusion — such as whether a player’s feet were or were not in the restricted area, or which team touched the ball last before it went out of bounds — have been the subject of replay reviews.
Block/charge calls in late-game situations would be added to instant replay under the committee’s recommendation, as would off-the-ball fouls on inbounds plays and on made free throws.
While review is a good thing generally speaking, it’s tough to see how the block/charge was the one that made the cut. We’re talking about a play which is almost always 50-50 in real time, and it’s usually tough to tell even after multiple viewings which way it should have been whistled. It would be easy to see the referee who originally made the call sticking to it in an extremely high percentage of reviewable instances.
If the league truly wants to give the referees the ability to check their work, they should make all fouls in the last two minutes of the game eligible to be reviewed if two of the three officials on the floor have a question about a potentially game-changing call. Now that the door has been opened for judgment calls to be potentially added to the replay queue, it’s no longer impossible to envision.