coach Doc Rivers (center) called for an end to the NBA's instant replay system last week. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP)
The NBA will reportedly implement an off-site video review system for in-game instant replay scenarios during the 2014-15 season.
The Sun-Sentinel reported Sunday that a so-called "command center" setup that would allow for a centralized review of all in-game instant replay decisions will go into effect next season.
Former NBA commissioner David Stern first floated the idea of a centralized review system last June. The National Hockey League uses a similar setup, and the NBA was interested in the possibility because it could ensure the most accurate calls while also reducing the delays caused by the current cumbersome system.
For years, instant replay decisions have fallen to the three game referees, who must go over to a courtside monitor and review their own work. Generally speaking, the television monitors available for their reviews aren't that large, and there have also been questions as to whether the referees have every pertinent replay angle available to them on their feed. In a central command system setup, the designated instant replay official would theoretically have huge high definition televisions and access to every relevant angle to help make the correct call.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who succeeded Stern earlier this year, told reporters at the 2014 All-Star Weekend in New Orleans that the league was still interested in adopting the centralized review system.
"We're looking at a command center similar to what the NHL does right now, where we can centralize the review of replays," Silver said. "In part to ensure a certain consistency, also to save time. Now, as you know, the game stops, the referees walk courtside, turn the monitor around, talk to the truck, order up the replays. And I think that it's our belief if we can get it right, that if have you officials, in essence, located at headquarters, at a central site, that that process can begin immediately, they then can communicate with the officials and that will save time."
Instant replay became a hot button issue again last week when the Thunder defeated the Clippers in Game 5 of a Western Conference semifinals series thanks, in part, to a disputed instant replay review decision. In an extended rant that eventually led to a $25,000 fine, Clippers coach Doc Rivers suggested that the league should scrap its review system if it didn't lead to the correct calls.
The NBA has steadily added in-game video review for various situations over the last decade. Beginning with reviews for buzzer-beating baskets, the system has expanded to include flagrant fouls, altercations, clock malfunctions, whether a three-point shooter’s foot was on the line, clear-path fouls, and late-game goaltending calls, among other scenarios.
The biggest hurdle to implementing the system, Stern and Silver said last year, was establishing a smooth and reliable communication method between the central office and the game referees.