NBA commissioner David Stern announced late last week that the Board of Governors had approved rule changes for instant replay during the upcoming season.
All of the rule changes will only be in effect for the final two minutes of regulation and overtime. These changes will now allow NBA officials to look at replays on flagrant fouls, blocking and charging fouls, and goaltending calls.
“So the call is [a] flagrant foul and then you go the tape, and you decide whether it’s a 1 or a 2, or in some rare instance, maybe even a common foul,” Stern said.
Pressure is still on the commissioner and the NBA Board of Governors to work on putting a stop to flopping and to look over fouls away from the ball. The competition committee will be ruling on how to address these issues in September.
These changes could have altered the outcome of the previous season had the rules already been changed. Most notably in a game on February 6 when Portland Trailblazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge blocked a lay-up attempt from Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant with six seconds left in regulation. The referees in that game ruled what was clearly a block on replay goaltending and the game was suddenly tied at 103. The Trailblazers proceeded to lose the game in overtime 111-107.
While it is not certain what impact the replay rule changes will have on next season, for now NBA fans seem satisfied with the replay review changes.
“I like all 3 [changes],” said Oklahoma resident Ashley Boyd.
Overall, these changes should be good for a game that has been surrounded by rumors of game fixing and horrible calls from their officials for years. Not helping matters was the 2007 arrest of former NBA referee Tim Donaghy for illegally betting on NBA games some of which he was officiating. No other referees were implicated for wrongdoing in the Donaghy case.
“I still think the replays need to [be] more like the NFL system where the coaches can pick any two times during the game to ask for a replay and an outside source determines when replays are necessary during the final two minutes and in overtime,” said Massachusetts resident and Celtics fan Shauna Burke.
If Burke had her way last year’s NBA finals could have wound up differently. The Oklahoma City Thunder were up 1-0 in the best of seven series against the Miami Heat when a blown goaltending call in the second quarter of Game Two seemed to alter the series. Serge Ibaka, one of the NBA leading shot blockers, clearly rejected a shot from the Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh that was ruled goaltending by officials. At the time Miami was up by ten points but the Thunder came roaring back in the fourth quarter before losing the game 100-96.
“The only thing I am worried about with increased instant replay is how much longer it will make games, the end of games seem to take forever now,” said Burke.
While the NBA and its fans seem excited for the instant replay rule changes for the 2012-13 season there is no telling how it will change the game. Owners, players, and fans will have to wait and see what impact the changes have on future games before ultimately deciding their opinion.