The NBA’s latest rule change was put to the test just 10 minutes into the season opener, as Toronto head coach Nick Nurse challenged an offensive foul called on shooting guard Norman Powell.
The league introduced a coach’s challenge, available to be used by each coach once per game, this season after trialling it in the second-tier G-League last season.
Each coach is permitted to challenge either a foul call, and out-of-bounds decision or a goaltending call, once per game.
Challenges are retained if the coach is correct, and lost if the decision on the floor is upheld.
Toronto took on the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, as the 2019-20 NBA season got underway.
While the Raptors ultimately claimed a 130-122 win over New Orleans in overtime, it was clear NBA coaches would need time to come to grips with the new coach’s challenge.
Nurse unsuccessfully challenged the offensive foul call on Powell in the first quarter, with replays showing Pelicans guard Josh Hart had legally defended the shot, catching an accidental elbow from Powell in the process.
The call on the floor stood - and Nurse lost his challenge.
Pelicans coach Alvin Genty’s turn came in the third quarter, his first attempt with the new rule also proving unsuccessful as he failed to have a loose ball foul called on Kenrich Williams overturned.
Jury still out on coach’s challenge
With each challenge triggering a timeout, both challenges caused a break in play. Unsuccessful challenges result in one timeout being forfeited.
Fans weren’t immediately sold on the concept during the season opener - some even going so far as to label it a ‘disaster’.
Might as well make the first-ever coach’s challenge the worst one— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) October 23, 2019
Coach's challenge in the first quarter: drink ✔️— Nikhila (@kokudum) October 23, 2019
NBA coaches using their challenge in the first quarter is going to drive me insane this season.— Anthony F. Irwin (@AnthonyIrwinLA) October 23, 2019
This coach’s challenge in the NBA is going to be a disaster— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) October 23, 2019
Blowing your challenge in the 1st quarter on a meaningless foul— Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) October 23, 2019
I'm already in love with the dumbass decisions that will result from the NBA coaches challenge
Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel also used his first challenge of the season unsuccessfully in the first half of their opening night showdown against the LA Clippers.