The LA Clippers’ season commences in just under two weeks. Following a few preseason games, it is clear that the team is going to be fun to watch. From the multitude of wings that complement Ty Lue’s switching defense to the diverse offensive attack. This roster is loaded and ready to go. In addition to the return of Kawhi Leonard, the team is fully healthy. And their offensive depth in Norman Powell, John Wall, Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris, and Luke Kennard is through the roof. But even with the revitalized roster, this could be Paul George’s best season.
This Could Be Paul George’s Best Season
George missed 51 games last season mainly due to an elbow injury suffered against the Portland Trail Blazers. Ahead of this season’s training camp, George was staying in shape and working out all off-season. President of Basketball Operations, Lawrence Frank, raved about his and the team’s work ethic this summer. George was seen in multiple videos from individual workouts to playing five-on-five with Wall at Rico Hines’ UCLA runs.
George commented on how focused he was coming into this season. Mainly mentioning his championship window is closing. George, 32, has been a Clipper for three seasons and led them to the Western Conference Finals in his second season with them. Though a proud moment for the franchise, he wants more. “I owe them a trophy,” George said after signing his extension in the 2020 offseason. And with how hard he worked to come into training camp ready and in shape, it just might happen.
Comfortability With The System
This will be George’s third year with Lue as his head coach. Lue has done a good job in getting him into pick-and-roll scenarios when coming off-ball or simply putting the ball in his hands to generate isolation offense. George has also openly admitted to being the team’s second-best player, right behind Leonard. Another year together of accepting his role, but stepping up when needed, only adds to continuity with the team. Additionally, their entire starting lineup of Jackson, George, Leonard, Morris, and Ivica Zubac adds to the familiarity.
In their preseason game against Portland, we saw some of the same offensive scenarios that Lue put George in. From running him off-ball to choosing between a zipper cut or fade to the corner. To get him in pick-and-roll situations with Zubac. And even getting his own off-the-dribble from three or around the right side of the court. George looked as smooth and comfortable as ever, and that’s a scary sight for the rest of the NBA.
Less Offensive Strain
While some might argue that the loaded offense may hinder George’s touches, I believe it will be beneficial for him and Leonard. With the shooting from Jackson, Powell, Kennard, Morris, Nicolas Batum, and Robert Covington, there will be plenty of spacing for the two stars to operate. The extra spacing from the efficient shooters will keep defenses honest and allow the stars to operate. George is one of the premier isolation threats in the league and will only benefit from it.
Additionally, the added offensive help will make sure that he and Leonard will not be overused on offense. A good thing so they can maintain their health and stay efficient. Powell averaged nearly 20 points a game when he was healthy, and Kennard was one of the best shooters in the league. He can also do a bit more on offense than people realize. Not to mention the isolation scoring from Morris. Not saying that George will outperform his 2018-29 season with Oklahoma City where he finished third in MVP and DPOY voting. But he has a chance to play a special role in the Clippers’ championship pursuit.