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Steve Kerr on How Ray Allen’s Famous Game 6 Shot Demonstrates the Pitfalls of Instant Replay

If Kerr could change any rule in the NBA, he would limit the use of instant replay. Here’s why.

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - Game 6 Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On the latest episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Steve Kerr joined Simmons to answer questions from listeners. One of those questions: If you could change any in-game rule in the NBA, which would it be? Kerr said he would limit instant replay to very specific situations. He built his case by looking back at one of the greatest shots in NBA history.

Listen to the full podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.

Kerr: I would have very, very limited replay.

Simmons: I think I agree. My big passion was getting rid of timeouts, and they actually got rid of some of them, and the game moves faster, right?

Kerr: The game moves faster, and you gotta be more prepared, and the players have to be more prepared late [in the] game because you can’t keep calling timeouts. And I think the replay thing would enhance the flow that you’re talking about. Fewer timeouts is good for flow, but fewer replays would also be good for that.

Simmons: I’m with you. I think [replay should be for] buzzer-beaters and then maybe 3-pointers during a timeout, where it’s like, “Hey, we reviewed that over during the timeout, and that was a 3, not a 2.” And that’s it.

Kerr: Even that one though bugs me a little bit, based on the Ray Allen shot against the Spurs. You know, the famous shot in Game 6 of the Finals in 2013. Because of the rule, the official was scared to death to not look at it.

Simmons: The Spurs could’ve taken it out!

Kerr: They could’ve taken it out, and Ray Allen’s buried in the corner, and the Spurs have Tony Parker—the fastest guy in the league—and if there’s no replay on that, the Spurs inbound it as a four-on-four and Parker actually gets a way better shot than what he ended up getting. And so, what’s really tricky with replay is the unintended consequences. I would like to see it restricted to just the most basic stuff [like] buzzer-beaters. [With] the 3-point stuff, if you get the call wrong, if his foot is barely on the line, I can kind of live with that. That sounds crazy, but at the expense of the flow and the pace of the game—

Simmons: Well, same thing with the NFL. Like, [Austin] Seferian-Jenkins in the Jets game this week caught a touchdown, they reviewed it, they cut it down to one one-millionth of a freeze frame, and the ball moved like imperceptibly, but it was like, “Nope, not a touchdown now.” It’s like, “That was a touchdown!” It definitely was.

Kerr: Yeah, I saw that play, I thought the same thing.