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NBA to experiment with centralized instant replay in WNBA

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The plans to experiment with an off-site centralized instant replay system in the WNBA beginning in September.

Photo by Jennifer Stewart | USA Today Sports.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has announced that the league will begin testing an off-site centralized instant replay system and begin experimenting with the "command center" in the WNBA in September, as reported by Ben Golliver of SI.com.

At a press conference following a Board of Governors meeting on Tuesday, commissioner Adam Silver announced plans to phase in the so-called "command center" setup that would provide centralized assistance of all in-game instant replay decisions..."In essence, it will give our officials the assistance of a replay center in Secaucus, N.J., where they will be able to cue up the plays, with the best angles on the court," he said. "The decision will still lie with the officials at the game on the court."

It's not immediately clear how exactly the centralized process will work, but even having outside observers being able to cue up the right clips could save time.

But what will be interesting is whether anything about this new process enables the league to modify any broader problems with its in-game instant replay process.

Steve Perrin of SB Nation's L.A. Clippers site Clips Nation has been harping on the problems with the NBA's instant replay process for years, most notably after a controversial play during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs between the Clippers and Golden State Warriors. At issue in that instance was the NBA's rule of forcing officials to ignore an uncalled infraction in a replay. During the 2012-13 NBA season, Perrin highlighted an instance when the rules allowed officials to, "...review a play that was called basket interference but not one that was not called basket interference."

After that Warriors incident, Perrin wrote that continued controversy in big moments could be the type of thing that catalyzes a change in the process.

So guess what? The call made in real time was closer to the correct outcome than the call made upon review! The referees stopped the game, made everyone wait, and then made the situation worse. The irony of the league criticizing their own crew for falling victim to the Catch-22 of the replay rules as the league wrote them is pretty delicious actually...The only question that remains here is whether the NBA will modify their asinine rules. Usually it takes something like this -- a major screwup in a big game -- to get them to do something. Forcing the officials to ignore the single biggest part of their job (i.e. calling fouls) while watching a replay has never made any sense.

Whether this new testing process is a response to something specific or just something the league felt was necessary regardless, this is about as good a time as any to take a hard look at how to refine the entire process.

Let's just hope this video streaming system works a bit better than WNBA LiveAccess.