Paul George is a Top 75 Player of All Time

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LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18: Paul George #13 of Team Lebron shoots a three-pointer in the third quarter as Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of Team Stephen looks for the block during the 2018 NBA All-Star Game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on February 18, 2018. (Photo by Philip Pacheco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The NBA recently released their 75th Anniversary Team, commemorating the 75th season in the league’s illustrious history. The list named the NBA’s 75 best players of all time, in no order. However, with the selections, came scrutiny for certain snubs. Popular names left off the list include Dwight Howard, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Kyrie Irving, and Manu Ginobili. But with all the fanfare of who was on the list and who wasn’t, one snub stood out to Clipper Nation. Paul George. Sorry NBA, but Paul George is a top 75 player of all time.

Paul George is a Top 75 Player of All Time

The absence of Paul George on the NBA’s 75th-anniversary team is absurd.

George’s career accolades speak for themselves. Seven-time All-Star, six-time All-NBA, and four-time All-Defensive (two First-Team). He also boasts career averages of 20.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game.

Additionally, in the 12 seasons that George has been in the NBA, he has made the playoffs in ten of them. George has appeared in three Conference Finals, two of which he competed against LeBron James (arguably in his prime) and the Big 3 Miami Heat. George also won Most Improved Player in the 2012-13 season and led the league in steals in the 2018-19 season.

The Ring Argument

NBA titles are considered the pinnacle of the sport. They are used effectively to elevate certain careers but also to tear down others. Rings are deemed critical criteria by most when including players in all-time lists. By this logic, many NBA greats cannot be considered. Charles Barkley, James Harden, Chris Paul, Patrick Ewing, John Stockton, and Karl Malone are names that are often brought up that never won the big one, but made the list.

Using championships as a means to select certain players is not ideal. The amount of players that won multiple championships in the ’50s and ’60s is incorrectly proportioned. This is due to the league containing fewer teams during those times compared to today.

Paul George accomplished too much in his career to be disrespected by a criterion that rewards team accomplishments over individual success. If rings are continually used to degrade great players, then fans will never be able to appreciate current players and respect those that came before them.

Playoff P

The negative bias towards George erupted after an interview before a first-round matchup versus the Utah Jazz.

“Y’all ain’t met Playoff P yet, huh?”, George said in a playoff pre-game media availability. Consequently, those words took a life of their own after the Thunder were eliminated by the Jazz.

Since then, “Playoff P” trended over social networks when George posted a poor playoff performance. Some view the confident statement as an arrogant avenue to prop himself up. However, George did not mean for this to be malicious. Many athletes talk themselves up in order to find motivation and perform at their best. George is not the only player to do this for motivation, and he will not be the last.

While he did get eliminated in the first round by the Portland Trailblazers in 2019, he still averaged 28.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists. Moreover, he did this with a torn labrum and rotator cuff injuries on both shoulders. To say that he did not perform is simply not the case.

2020 Bubble Flame Out

Nevertheless, the Clippers flamed out collectively as a team in the 2020 bubble playoffs and everyone is to blame for that postseason collapse. Players and coaches did not have their best outing against the Denver Nuggets as the Clippers failed to capitalize on a 3-1 series lead in a series that almost sent them to their first Western Conference Final.

Did George underperform? His 20.2 points per game average are certainly not up to his standards. Especially considering that he shot 39.8% from the field. It is important to note that the team faced issues with Doc Rivers’ questionable rotations. Additionally, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray both put on offensive clinics. The Clippers had no answer for either. Collectively, it was a team loss, though George is not escaping any flak.

Redemption Season

The bubble served as motivation for Paul George to come out with a different mentality in the 2020-21 season. George was once again named an All-Star and a member of the All-NBA third team. He even garnered MVP talk early in the season before he suffered a bone edema injury in his toe.

When the postseason commenced, George was in attack mode. Clipper fans were able to witness “Playoff P” with his percolating performances against the Utah Jazz when Kawhi Leonard was ruled out for the rest of the playoffs. George led the charge against Utah, averaging 29.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists while shooting 41.7% from three. He eventually led the Clippers to their first-ever western conference finals in franchise history.

Though the Clippers fell short against the Phoenix Suns, George left it all out on the court. He remained stellar with stats of 28.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game.

The 2020-21 postseason exorcised the “Playoff P” demons that haunted Paul George for a few years in his career. Not only did he make history for his childhood team, but he silenced the doubters that disrespected him with a performance that will live forever amongst Clipper Nation.

Conclusion

Paul George may not be a perfect player, but his omission from the NBA’s 75th Anniversary list is asinine. George is one of the best two-way players of all time and one of the most skilled offensive players to ever lace them up. A 6″9′ wing with an elite handle, shooting ability, and defensive chops is the type of created player you see in NBA 2K.

The disrespect that continues to be thrown at George is baseless and unwarranted. A man that snapped his leg, should never have been able to walk again. But Paul George came back, and better. Fine-tuning his skills to be more efficient, tightening his ball-handling, and improving his off-the-dribble jumpers.

Suggesting specifically which players should be removed from the NBA 75 list is a disservice to the work that they all put in. Every player named is great in their own right and deserves to be celebrated.

Evidently, Paul George is used to disrespect. Fully expect the All-NBA forward to use his snub as motivation for potentially another MVP-caliber season. And maybe, just maybe, he will have the last laugh.

In 25 years, when the dust has settled and time has progressed, we will most likely see Paul George on the NBA’s 100-anniversary list, where he belongs.

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