The NBA has approved the coach’s challenge on a full-time basis, starting with the 2020-21 season that tips off next week.
Following a trial run last season, the NBA’s Competition Committee recommended the coach’s challenge to be introduced permanently to the rule book. It allows head coaches to request an instant replay review on a limited set of matters.
NBA coaches challenged 633 calls in the regular season and 67 in the playoffs during the 2019-20 campaign. Of those, 27 calls were overturned in the postseason, a 40% success rate.
“Our coaches were receptive to the pilot version of the Coach’s Challenge, increasing usage and becoming more comfortable with the concept and strategic aspects as the season progressed,” NBA president of league operations Byron Spruell said in a statement.
The board of governors clarified the language of the rule slightly ahead of the 2020-21 season, including the situation when a coach’s challenge results in a delay of game violation. In such a case, the team requesting the call loses its right to the challenge.
LeBron Jamesoffered his take on the usage of the coach’s challenge during the 2020 NBA Finals. Despite Lakers head coach Frank Vogel preferring to leave the challenge until the latter parts of the game, he frequently used it in the first half of the series against the Miami Heat.
“There’s certain momentum plays throughout the first half,” James explained at the time. “There’s a certain rhythm that you have either offensively or defensively that if that call is made correctly, then you continue to stay in that zone, you continue to stay in that rhythm. And if the call is wrong, it can throw you off of your rhythm.”
In another change implemented ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, the NBA approved the expansion of active rosters on game nights from 13 to 15. An additional pair of roster spots for players on two-way contracts also remain available.
NBA trade deadline
Elsewhere in roster news, the NBA trade deadline for the 2020-21 season was officially set for March 25.
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