So by now I'm sure you've probably heard and maybe even saw the gruesome Paul George injury in the USA Team scrimmage last night. If you haven't seen it well consider yourself lucky and no you won't see it here. The injury is devastating for the NBA national team and especially the Indiana Pacers. So how will this impact owners, players, and fans feelings toward international play? While most owners will put out statements supporting the U.S. national team,
"We still support USA Basketball and believe in the NBA's goals of exposing our game, our teams and players worldwide. This is an extremely unfortunate injury that occurred on a highly-visible stage, but could also have occurred anytime, anywhere."
-Larry Bird, Pacers President of Basketball Operations
there still has to be at least an ounce of fear and worry when their players are out there. I know as a fan of the Grizzlies, I'm worried and praying that Gasol doesn't get hurt this summer. We all know how well the Grizzlies do without him. This injury to George probably also puts some doubt in the minds of other players. Losing a player of George's caliber is season and sometimes franchise altering. I think it's safe to say with an improved Eastern conference Indiana can kiss their playoff hopes goodbye. You don't just replace your franchise player, and with the loss of Lance Stephenson the Pacers are losing 35 percent of their already struggling offense in those two players combined.
Now I'm not saying that the owners shouldn't allow their players to participate or that the NBA should put out rules not allowing certain players to be apart of the team. I am all for America putting out it's best basketball talent possible to defend our title as the basketball capital of the world. My main reasoning behind this is that the injury to George was a freak accident and there weren't many ways to avoid this or any off-season injury for that matter. Injuries are a part of the game and there is going to be risk every time they go out on the court. In fact guys playing for Team USA right now are probably safer than where they normally play in the off-season. There's still a good chance though that you are going to see a change in perspective from owners, players, and fans.
NBA guys are going to play basketball during the off-season no matter what. Whether that's in a random gym playing a pick-up game or playing in a nationally recognized scrimmage. They are going to be on the court trying to improve their game. Paul George was attempting to make himself a better player when he agreed to play for Team USA and what better way to do that than playing with the best players in the country and being coached by one of the best coaches of all time.