NBA planning to use a centralized replay center as soon as next season

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The NBA has continually expanded the instances in which referees can use instant replay to make sure they get the call right, but it’s still a process that can slow the flow of the game and grind its fast-paced action to a halt while officials are coming to a decision.

In another leap forward that would shorten the amount of time it takes those onsite to review multiple angles of a questionable play, the league is moving toward implementing one centralized center where officials at another location could have the correct call made by the time the referees in the arena make it to the scorer’s table.

From Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com:

“What we’re in the process of doing is we’re going to create a central location where we’ll have people there who will be watching every game,” NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said Friday. “When the referees go over to the side, in many instances the [central replay center] will already know what happened and they’ll be able to tell the referee, which will hopefully take less time.”

The project is one of new commissioner Adam Silver’s initiatives. The NBA would be mimicking a system the NHL started in 2011, when it created what is known as the “situation room” in Toronto where all goals from all games can be reviewed with calls communicated to the officials on the ice. …

“It’s still a work in progress for exactly how it’s [going to work],” Thorn said. “On the line calls, like whether it’s a 3-pointer or 2-pointer, or in many occasions they’ll be able to tell the referee the ball was definitely [out of bounds], whatever team. That should help.”

This would make a lot of sense. There are plenty of times seeing replays at home where the correct call that needs to be made is inarguable from a certain angle, but officials in the building may want to be overly-cautious and review it multiple times.

Now that there would potentially be referees on duty elsewhere, it could ultimately give the entire process a much-needed head start.