Aug 1, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; USA Team White forward Paul Milsap (51) drives the ball against the defense of USA Team Blue guard Paul George (29) during the USA Basketball Showcase at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Passes New Rules to Make the Baseline Safer

For Paul George and the Pacers it is too little, too late (and maybe not even relevant since it happened with Team USA). But the league is looking to make sure an injury like George’s doesn’t happen under their watch by changing the NBA rules governing how much real estate must be available on the baseline.

With player safetly in mind, the league is calling for “escape lanes” on the sides of the basket, decreasing the number a photographers around the basket.

Thorn says clearing the congestion behind the playing area was planned even before Indiana’s Paul George broke his right leg when he crashed into the stanchion last month during a USA Basketball exhibition game.

”The conversations about this topic preceded Paul’s injury by several years,” Thorn said. ”As a matter of fact, at our league meetings in July we informed our teams this was the direction we were going. But of course when an injury occurs like the one to Paul, it reaffirms the changes we have made and the need to continue to evaluate our policies.”

The ”escape lanes,” the unoccupied area on either side of the stanchion to the closest photographer spot, will increase from 3 to 4 feet.

Only 20 camera positions, 10 on each baseline, will remain, down from 24 last season and 40 during the 2010-11 regular season. Each baseline can have six photo spots on one side of the basket and four on the other, and dance teams or other entertainers cannot be stationed along the baseline.

This NBA rules change was coming before George’s injury and wouldn’t have affected what happens with Team USA, but at least the NBA has made the change. And hopefully Team USA can follow suit when selecting where to play their games.

While the majority of 8 Points, 9 Seconds writers felt it was simply a freak accident, keeping players safe should be at the top of the league’s list.

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