Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy wants to be clear: if this is the way the NBA is going to institute instant replay, with a crew in Secaucus, New Jersey reviewing calls, they’re doing a good job of it.
But if it were up to him, the NBA — and all spectator sports — would do away with replay entirely.
“If it were up to me, in all of sports, we’d get rid of all of it,” Van Gundy said in a candid pre-game interview before taking on the Brooklyn Nets Monday evening. “I sort of came to that in my two years out of coaching, sitting and watching games, college and pro.
“It’s infuriating watching the game and watching the last two minutes take 20 minutes and stuff. You know, going to the monitor four times in the last two minutes, it’s like, ‘damn, can we just play this basketball game?’ So I whipped through two years of just sitting there as a spectator and absolutely hated it.”
Van Gundy railed against the idea that the replay center is there to get the call right, calling that only “partially true.”
“I know the rationale is we want to get it right, but that’s only partially true anyway. Because we’re not reviewing foul calls and non-foul calls, which are the most important calls. We don’t care about getting those right. So why are we going to worry about the rest of it? I don’t — I don’t get it. We’ve selected certain calls at certain times in the games that we want to get right. And for the other 46 minutes of the game, and for certain calls in the last two minutes, I guess we don’t care if we get it right.”
The NBA has instituted many new changes to their officiating policies in recent years, including the review booth in Secaucus, New Jersey, and “Last 2 Minute” reports being available for any game that was within five points at the two-minute mark that assess the validity of their calls. But Van Gundy said he doesn’t mind the occasional wrong call.
“Officials are going to make mistakes just like we do,” he added. “They always have and they always will, and it’s just part of the game. I don’t understand why we’re running to the monitor all the time. I really don’t.”
Though Van Gundy came to his anti-replay realizations as a spectator, he didn’t reserve similar feelings for intentional fouling (AKA “Hack-A”), which also slows down the game — and is a particular bug for his All-Star center, Andre Drummond (career 38.1% free throw shooter), calling it “just within the rules.”
But Van Gundy did say he took issue with how the rules get selectively implemented at different points throughout the game. Intentional fouls are not permitted within the last two minutes; they result in two free throws plus possession for the team getting fouled.
“My only thing, I keep saying it, whether it’s replays or anything else, I have not understood why you have certain rules for 46 minutes and certain rules for the last two minutes,” Van Gundy said. “So we cannot inbound in the backcourt for 46 minutes, but with two minutes to go, we can. I can grab guys the entire game and foul them, but I can’t do that in the last two minutes. We’re not reviewing every call until the last two minutes. That I don’t get. To me, it would seem like whatever the rules of the game you choose to play by, let’s play by them for the entire game. So that just doesn’t make sense to me. But obviously it makes sense to everyone else, and so we have the rule.”