Coaches want it (or, at least most of them). Fans want it (but rightly will complain about the added delays).
The NBA will have a coach’s challenge for calls starting next season. After experimenting with it in the G-League and Summer League, the NBA’s owners approved it as expected on Tuesday at their Board of Governors’ meeting.
Note: There will not be an actual challenge flag, like the NFL has. Which is too bad, because who doesn’t want to see Doc Rivers frantically searching his pockets for the flag at a key moment?
The challenge can only be for personal fouls, goaltending and/or basket interference, and a called out-of-bounds violation, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
According to previous reports, coaches will get one challenge per game (they call an immediate timeout and ask for a review of the play). If the challenge is successful they get to keep the timeout used to take the challenge, lose the challenge and lose the timeout (the timeout prevision is to prevent coaches from using it as a de facto timeout). If a team is out of timeouts the coach cannot call for a challenge.
For fans of replay, if there are any, the league’s Replay Center can now also trigger reviews.
The strategy for how coaches use the challenge will be interesting to watch evolve. Much like their NFL counterparts, NBA coaches may be reluctant to challenge a call they know is wrong in the second quarter, saving that challenge for a more critical part of the game. Then again, some coach is just going to get angry and challenge a meaningless call. Gregg Popovich may not challenge a call all season.
While all this will mean even more delays, it’s in the name of getting calls right. That should matter.