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Friday, October 3, 2008
Updated: October 4, 4:35 PM ET
NBA proposals would greatly expand the league's usage of instant replay

By Marc Stein
ESPN.com

NBA teams were asked Friday to vote on two new proposals that, if passed, will noticeably expand the use of instant replay starting this season.

In a league memorandum obtained by ESPN.com, votes are sought electronically by 5 p.m. on Oct. 10 on the following proposed changes:

1. To allow game officials to use instant replay at any point during a game to determine (i) whether a successful field goal was correctly scored as a 2-point or 3-point field goal and (ii) whether, for purposes of awarding the correct number of free throws, an unsuccessful field goal attempt on which the shooter was fouled was a 2-point or 3-point attempt.

2. To allow the game officials to use instant replay when the game clock malfunctions during a play concluding with no time remaining on the clock (0:00) at the end of any quarter or overtime period.

In the 2007-08 season, use of instant replay was restricted to reviewing made baskets and fouls called with no time remaining on the clock at the end of each quarter, reviewing any Flagrant Foul/Penalty 2 and to review altercations involving two or more players.

The two proposals will be voted on separately and adopted in time for opening night on Oct. 28 if either receives an affirmative vote from at least three-fourths (23 is the minimum) of the league's 30 teams.

The first proposal would enable referees, at their discretion, to consult an instant replay review to resolve discrepancies when the crew is uncertain whether a successful field goal is a 2- or 3-point shot, with such reviews to be primarily conducted during timeouts and period breaks to limit the number of in-game disruptions for replays. Reviews of shooting fouls on a 2- or 3-point attempt would be conducted immediately following the foul in question.

The second proposal would make instant replay available to game officials in circumstances when the game clock malfunctions during a play that concludes with no time left on the clock (0:00) at the end of any quarter or overtime period, as seen during last season's playoffs in Game 2 of the Detroit-Orlando series.

In that game, Detroit inbounded the ball under its own basket with 5.1 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The game clock started correctly, then malfunctioned, stopping at 4.8 seconds as the Pistons advanced the ball up the floor. The Pistons made two passes before Chauncey Billups attempted and sank a 3-pointer with the clock still reading 4.8 seconds.

Television replays later showed that Detroit actually needed 5.22 seconds for Billups to release his shot, but the rules currently in effect required the referees to "reconstruct the play to the best of their ability" without assistance from instant replay or any other source. The determination of that crew was that Billups scored with 0.5 seconds to go in the quarter.

League officials considered applying the latter proposal to game-clock malfunctions occurring at any point during a game but opted to limit the proposed rule change to plays concluding with no time remaining on the clock (0:00) at the end of any quarter or overtime period, which is consistent with the league's stated approach to employ instant replay to assist referees on the most important plays in a game.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here.