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Doc Rivers is Calling for a Challenge System in the NBA, and for Good Reason

Clippers' head coach believes the NBA should have a challenge system similar to those found in football and tennis.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

It was only a matter of time until somebody brought it up, and it's no surprise that Doc Rivers is a major proponent of NBA teams being allowed to challenge official rulings.  Why do I say it isn't a surprise?  Well, ever since the late game reports have become a (useless) part of close games, the Clippers have been disadvantaged on many occasions.  In fact, according to Utah Jazz beat writer Andy Larsen, the Clippers have been disadvantaged on 24 occasions, while only being given the advantage on 20, meaning they have a call margin of -4.  Just within this past year, Dwight blatantly goaltended a Griffin shot, Westbrook fouled Chris Paul on a drive to the basket which should have been an And-1, and Jeff Green got called for an offensive foul when it also should have been an And-1.  And how did those games go?  The Clippers lost each time by a narrow margin.

Now, I'm not saying that they are the only team who gets disadvantaged (only to receive nothing more than a meaningless acknowledgement of screwing up by the NBA), but when teams like Golden State has a call margin of +4, Toronto has a call margin of +14, and OKC has a call margin of +18(!!!), then that becomes a legitimate issue.

So, because of this blatantly uneven system, according to Marc Stein, Doc Rivers has reportedly claimed that the NBA should have a system in which they can challenge calls during the game.

While I do like this idea, the bigger question is, how much more power does this give officials to change and overturn their calls?  At the end of the day, the problem stems from the referees inability to retroactively call or cancel fouls upon review.  If they are not given that power, then the challenge is meaningless.  In my previously stated examples, the officials reviewed each and every one of those plays, but were unable to change their mistakes (assuming they wanted to to begin with).  (Sidenote: The Dwight Howard goaltend was especially hard to swallow, because had they simply called it a goaltend to begin with, they could have changed it to a non goaltend afterwards.  However, they cannot do it the other way around.)  We have seen too many fouls, but the ball technically being out on the man being fouled.  We have seen too many weak calls be whistled only to find that there was no contact at all.  In general, we have just seen too many wrong whistles which a simple review would be unable to fix.  So until the referees get the power to retroactively make calls, any such challenge system will more or less lead to the current problems.

Also, for any of those interested in the call margins of advantaged and disadvantaged calls in the end game: