The San Antonio Spurs and the rest of the NBA might be in for an NFL influence on officiating this summer.
The San Antonio Spurs are in Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics. It’s the middle of the third quarter and every bucket matters towards the ultimate goal: The championship. Kawhi Leonard is there, the Celtics have Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, and it’s a game of top talents in their prime with a title on their mind.
With the game at 65-62, Celtics, in the third quarter, Manu Ginobili barely toes the baseline and finds Leonard, who nails a 3-pointer to tie the game at 65-65 … or did he? Celtics coach Brad Stevens throws a challenge flag on the court which stops play and sends the referees to the monitor. After minutes of deliberation, they determine Ginobili’s left foot stepped out of bounds and erase the made 3-pointer. The game is back to 65-62, Boston.
That scenario has the NFL written all over it. Even the MLB. So it’s only hypothetical, for now, since the NBA plans on the introduction of the challenge flag in the 2018 summer league, according to Justin Termine of Sirius XM NBA.
Just spoke with Kiki Vandeweghe… He said the NBA will experiment with a challenge flag during Summer League.
— Justin Termine (@TermineRadio) June 3, 2018
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The summer league starts in early July, just weeks away, so NBA fans will soon see challenge flags land on the court to question calls from officials.
What if the NBA likes this experiment? It might impact the pace of play, with delays that last minutes at a time if a call does not trend towards a clear-cut decision. That’s along with coaches potentially using this as a strategic method for timeouts or to stall the opposition’s momentum.
However, if the NBA wants to improve the accuracy of referee calls, then there will be less in-game and post-game commotion over dissatisfaction with officiating decisions. Is that the NBA’s mindset?
Spurs fans, are you in favor of challenge flags? How would they impact the game of basketball?