The New NBA Challenge Rule
After experimenting with a similar rule change in the G League, the NBA has instituted its new challenge rule on a one-year trial basis for the 2019-20 season. Only certain fouls and rulings are permitted to be challenged and the new rule has been used by several coaches over the first week of the new season. Here’s a look at how the NBA challenge rule works.
During the course of a game, each head coach is given one challenge which may only be executed if a team has a timeout remaining. Only personal fouls, goaltending or basket interference, and a called out-of-bounds violation may be challenged. Unlike the G League, shooting fouls may not be challenged.
To execute a challenge, a head coach must call timeout before an official administers the ball for play. If the challenge is successful, the head coach retains the timeout. He loses it if his challenge fails.
A head coach can only execute a challenge during the first 46 minutes of regulation play and the first three minutes of any additional overtime period.
Using the Challenge
It will be interesting to see if some sort of strategy for using the challenge develops. Most teams’ analytics departments have said there is no reason to save the challenge for a late-game situation. All borderline plays in the last two minutes of a game or overtime period are automatically reviewed.
The new rule has its supporters as well as its naysayers. Those in favor of the rule like it because it adds another layer of security to get the correct call. It also holds officials accountable. Most of those who dislike the challenge rule cite time concerns as the issue. The challenge rule will make games longer.
D’Antoni Goes First
Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni used the challenge first in the NBA’s preseason. D’Antoni used the challenge on an offensive foul called on James Harden. Replay showed that Harden did indeed commit the foul and D’Antoni lost the timeout.
The league will use the challenge rule for the 2019-20 season. The NBA Board of Governors will vote next year on whether or not to keep the rule, modify it, or get rid of it altogether.