The NBA has been in the spotlight more this summer than any in recent memory. Its latest move will also generate a lot of interest, though in a different way, as it's focused on changing baseline rules and the safety of players.
According to Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press, via NBA.com, the league is changing the amount of clutter around the baseline and opening up the stanchion:
The new regulations, calling for an extra foot of open space on both sides of the basket stanchion, were sent to teams Tuesday by league president of operations Rod Thorn in a memo that was obtained by The Associated Press.
The "escape lanes," the unoccupied area on either side of the stanchion to the closest photographer spot, will increase to 4 feet. Only 20 camera positions, 10 on each baseline, will remain, down from 40 during the 2010-11 regular season.
The stanchion became a huge topic of conversation after Indiana Pacers star Paul George suffered that horrific leg injury with Team USA in a scimmage on August 1.
ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst noted on Twitter that the stanchion used during the Team USA scrimmage was noticeably closer to the baseline than the standard one used in an NBA game:
Basket stanchions at Thomas & Mack Center appears to be significantly closer than NBA standard. pic.twitter.com/q0Nd5N847D— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) August 2, 2014
However, Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal spoke to Thomas & Mack Center director Mike Newcomb after George's injury and said the stanchion was eight feet from the edge of the court:
According to T&M director Mike Newcomb the basket stanchion was 8 feet from the edge of the court. I have to admit it does seem shorter.— Steve Carp (@stevecarprj) August 2, 2014
Whether George's injury could have been prevented or not is impossible to know. Mahoney's report also notes that Thorn's memo stated the changes were planned for "several years and teams were informed in July."
If teams were informed in July, that means they knew before George's injury happened on the first day of August. Therefore, all the conspiracy theorists have no arguments here.
Whatever prompted the changes and however long they have been in the works, the good news is they happened. Even before George's injury, there are countless times when you turn on an NBA game and a player crashes into the photographers sitting on the court.
It wasn't safe for anyone involved. Now, with more space on both sides of the stanchion and less clutter directly around the basket, players don't have to worry about trampling over anyone and photographers can do their job without fear of having a human body come hurtling at them.
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