2018 Summer League

NBA adding challenge-the-call option to Summer League games

Missed calls may see the light this summer.

The NBA will experiment with a coaches’ challenge for summer league games, one where teams will have the ability to seek a review of certain calls in the final 2 minutes of regulation and overtime. Coaches will have to call a time-out before live play resumes, and then trigger a blinking light on the scorer’s table to initiate the challenge.

“We’re going to try it in limited form,” NBA executive vice president for basketball operations Kiki Vandeweghe said.

The plan is consistent with what’s long been the league’s thinking when it comes to summer league, turning it into a testing laboratory of sorts for the NBA. The G League already has a challenge rule in place.

Another new twist this summer is a rule that will see the shot clock reset to 14 seconds instead of 24 after offensive rebounds, similar to what’s used in the G League and the WNBA.

It’s all part of a continued evolution of summer league, which will see a record 94 games played between the three cities. All three leagues run separately, and the bulk of the games will be played in Las Vegas – where, for the first time, all 30 NBA franchises will be sending squads.

“It’s become the center of basketball in the month of July,” Vandeweghe said.

The scores will likely soon be forgotten – such is the nature of summer league – but the challenge experiment will be followed closely by just about everyone involved, especially the league’s competition committee that will ultimately decide if the twist comes to the NBA in the future.

Among the plays that coaches will be able to challenge: if a basket or foul occurred before the shot clock expired, who the ball went off when it’s out of bounds, if a foul meets clear-path criteria, if goaltending or basket interference was properly called, and if a player was in the act of shooting when fouled.

Coaches will also be able to challenge if a player was in the restricted area on block-charge calls, such as the one in Game 1 of the NBA Finals where Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Cleveland’s LeBron James collided in the lane at a very pivotal moment in that series.

Referees will be the only ones who can initiate a review of potentially flagrant fouls and end-of-period situations. In the last 2 minutes of regulation, only referees can seek review to check if a shot was a 2- or 3-pointer, and if a shot hit the rim and whether the shot clock should be therefore adjusted.

“You see the level of competitiveness that’s at these summer leagues,” the Los Angeles Lakers’ Josh Hart said. “Guys dream about making it to the NBA and when they get out there, every possession, you have to go hard or you’re going to get exposed.”

Here’s some more of what to know about summer league:

Before Vegas

The Kings decided this year to add a summer league at their Golden 1 Arena, and will be playing host to Miami, Golden State and the Lakers. Games in Utah will feature the Jazz, San Antonio, Atlanta and Memphis.

TV Twist

ESPN and NBA TV will also be experimenting in Las Vegas. ESPN will be using a SkyCam for all games, including two where the overhead view will be considered the main camera angle on the broadcast. There will also be a “vertical view” production for two games that will be shown internationally, a move the NBA decided to utilize based on research among viewers in China.

Other Rule Changes

Players get 10 fouls before fouling out in summer league games, until the playoff portion begins in Las Vegas and the rule reverts to the conventional six-and-you’re-out. Quarters last 10 minutes, overtime is 2 minutes and in some games there will be a first-point-wins rule if a second OT is required.

Ayton Debut

No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton could make his debut on Friday at 9:30 p.m. EDT, when the Phoenix Suns take on the Dallas Mavericks.


Sacramento and Utah will not have playoffs in their short leagues. The NBA Summer League in Las Vegas will crown a champion on July 17.