In a memo sent to teams and obtained by the Associated Press, the NBA has unveiled two new rules concerning space around the basket stanchion and along the baselines that are intended to make things safer for players. But the association claims the changes were in the works long before Paul George's leg snapped like uncooked spaghetti.
The two new rules:
- The "escape lanes," the spaces flanking the stanchion that must be kept clear at all times for players hurtling underneath the basket, will be expanded from three to four feet on each side.
- The number of camera positions will be reduced to 20, 10 on either baseline. That's down from 24 last season and from 40(!) as recently as 2010-11.
Neither of this would have saved Paul George, who suffered an open fracture landing on a stanchion in Las Vegas that was closer to the court than NBA regulations require. But this is a good, proactive change that's going to stop injuries before they happen. President of basketball operations Rod Thorn says this was going to happen with or without the George injury.
"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."