What Is the NBA Fallout of the Paul George Injury?

By Erik Lambert

Aug 1, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Team USA guard Paul George is carted off the floor on a gurney after suffering a lower leg injury during the USA Basketball Showcase at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Thoughts and prayers go out to All-Star forward Paul George following his gruesome leg injury.  How will this affect the rest of the NBA?

Derrick Rose and LeBron James stand alone in the East

The makeup of the Eastern Conference balance of power has shifted dramatically.  The Indiana Pacers were the #1 seed last season in the playoffs and figured to compete again even after the loss of Lance Stephenson.  With George out it will drop the Pacers even further out of the running and even out the playoffs.  It also puts the Central division and perhaps even the East squarely in the hands of Derrick Rose and Chicago and LeBron James and Cleveland.  There is no question it will be a surprise if those two teams don’t meet in the Conference Finals.

Indiana Pacers won’t trade Roy Hibbert

Having Paul George in the lineup afforded the Pacers to think aggressively regarding their roster.  In need of help at point guard, whispers were strong that the team was seriously considering trading All-Star NBA center Roy Hibbert.  The reasoning was for his meltdown towards the end of last season in which his effectiveness tanked.  Now with George out the Pacers no longer have the luxury of unloading any pieces.  They need every man on deck to keep the team competitive, which means hoping Hibbert can somehow turn himself around.

Team USA basketball may have harder time recruiting

There has always been the underlying fear among basketball fans that because of the priorities set by the NBA, that players would resist playing basketball for Team USA in world competition because of the risks regarding injuries.  Lately the problem had slipped to the background thanks to the success in London at the Olympics.  Not anymore.  Watching the tragedy of the Paul George injury unfold, in a scrimmage no less is going to make life very hard for USA basketball.  Not only does it severly impact their front court ahead of the world championships, it also could damage their ability to convince players to join the roster.