On Friday night, the USA basketball team held a showcase which was held in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Paul George attempted to block James Harden‘s shot at the rim in transition. However, his attempt was unsuccessful, and even worse, the Indiana Pacers‘ star suffered a gruesome right leg injury as he landed on the basketball stanchion near the baseline.
This injury, which immediately haunted the basketball world, could have been prevented if the basketball court was up to college or NBA standards. The NCAA has an assigned minimum distance between the basket stand and baseline of six feet. On the other hand, the NBA requires a minimum distance of four feet. Although it is difficult to see exactly how close the stand was to the baseline during the scrimmage, it does not look to meet NBA standards of four feet.
It is important to note that Thomas & Mack Center did not have to abide by any of these rules for the scrimmage, and therefore did not have to place the stand at least four feet away from the baseline. Because of this, the stand was placed extremely close to the baseline, making it possible for an injury like the one George suffered.
Unfortunately, no one can go back and change the guidelines now and possibly prevent George’s horrific injury. Still, this tragedy should be used as a teaching moment to lessen the possibility of an injury like this. It is not a certainty that this injury would have been avoided if the stand was farther away from the baseline, but playing on a court with no guidelines clearly threatens the health of the NBA’s best players.
Their health should have been the most vital part of the scrimmage, so taking the proper action to lessen the chance of this happening again is certainly worth attempting.