You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George learned that lesson this season. George wanted to go back home and play for the Clippers but after finally getting what he wanted he missed playing in the All-Star game for the first time in four seasons. He has had to take a back seat to his teammate in Kawhi Leonard but the team is the favorite to come out of the West. Last season George had a breakout season where he averaged 28.0 points per game, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists per game and a league-leading 2.2 steals per game.
Paul George Aims for Finals Appearance After All-Star Snub
Last season, George was considered for the MVP award but his team wasn’t able to make it past the first round with him being the first option. When completely healthy George is a terror on both sides of the ball. He is one of the best two-way players in the league. Now that George has joined forces with a more efficient superstar it looks like this team will at least make it to the Western Conference Finals. Paul George has made a sacrifice coming home to Los Angeles and if everything goes right it could lead to a championship.
Paul George has been through the trials and tribulations that most people don’t make it back from. He has been able to have a lot of success in his career but has never been able to win a ring. This year Paul George is only averaging 21.7 points per game for the Clippers while Leonard is averaging 27.2 points per game and was an All-Star starter. Leonard has 860 field goal attempts while George only has 570 attempts. George will have his lowest field goal attempts since the 2014-15 NBA season which was when he broke his leg before the season started.
Last year his running mate Russell Westbrook had 1473 field goal attempts while he had 1614. That Oklahoma City Thunder team finished sixth in the Western Conference standings. They did not go past the first round. This Clippers team is a contender and expected to go to the Finals. Paul George has sacrificed his individual success and individual accolades to help this team be all it can be.
What Paul George Will have to do in the Playoffs
The Los Angeles Clippers have a deep team. With a third option added in Marcus Morris and a third option on the bench in Reggie Jackson, the Clippers have one of the deepest teams in the league. What they need from Paul George in the playoffs is his maximum two-way play. George has to be able to shoot efficiently while putting the clamps on the opposing team by getting in passing lanes and guarding their best player. The past two first-round exits in two seasons in Oklahoma City were not efficient ones offensively for George.
In 2017-18 he shot 40.8 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from the three-point line. In 2018-19 he shot 43.6 percent from the field and 31.9 percent from the three-point line.
The opposing team in both playoff matchups had a player dominate on the offensive end. The defensive effort wasn’t there for George and the rest of the Thunder. Donovan Mitchell cooked the Thunder in 2017-18 and Damian Lillard exploded in the first-round matchup in 2018-19. Paul George has only missed the playoffs once in his career which was the infamous 2014-15 season. He has the playoff experience that you need from your star player to guide this team to the Finals he just needs to take advantage of efficient scoring opportunities and play shut down defense in the playoffs.
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