Paul George is not getting enough respect. This has to be addressed.
Before Kawhi Leonard joined the Los Angeles Clippers (LAC), one of his conditions was that the team had to find a way to obtain Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC). At the time, Paul was coming off a failed experiment with the Thunder’s own Big Three which saw Russel Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and George team up. During the last year of OKC, George averaged 28 PG, 8.2 REB and 4.1 AST on 43% shooting.
Despite being known as awkward and quiet, Kawhi was shrewd in his thinking, even after winning a title with Toronto. He knew next year the Warriors would be healthy. LeBron would have Anthony Davis from the Pelicans and the Blazers were on a verge of a breakthrough. It wouldn’t be as easy to win a title in the 2019-2020 season. As such, you can see why Paul George was a necessary piece to trade for.
Playoff P makes his appearance
After trading for Paul with OKC, George averaged 21.5 PPG, 5.7 REB and 3.9 AST on 43.9% from the field. The Clippers at times were dominate throughout the season, even going 2-2 was the LeBron led Lakers. Their efforts were enough to clinch the second seed in the NBA playoffs. Then the challenge started. Paul’s game logs read as follows for the 14 games in the playoffs:
|Game 1 vs Dallas Mavericks||27||3||2||36.4||45.5|
|Game 2 vs Dallas Mavericks||14||2||10||20||23.5|
|Game 3 vs Dallas Mavericks||11||7||9||12.5||18.8|
|Game 4 vs Dallas Mavericks||9||3||8||14.3||21.4|
|Game 5 vs Dallas Mavericks||35||2||3||50||66.7|
|Game 6 vs Dallas Mavericks||15||7||9||28.6||31.6|
|Game 1 vs Denver Nuggets||19||4||7||19||46.2|
|Game 2 vs Denver Nuggets||22||3||8||22||36.8|
|Game 3 vs Denver Nuggets||32||4||4||32||66.7|
|Game 4 vs Denver Nuggets||10||3||3||10||40|
|Game 5 vs Denver Nuggets||26||6||6||26||44|
|Game 6 vs Denver Nuggets||33||3||6||33||42.9|
|Game 7 vs Denver Nuggets||10||2||4||10||25|
Playoff P averaged 18 PPG, 5.6 REB, 3.8 AST on 36% FG, lackluster stats compared to his season average. LAC was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets after George put up his worse game of the series. Due to this, a prolific number of NBA fans called out Paul George for his performance. Shaq even called for a trade of Paul George. Looking on Twitter right now will find you similar tweets to these by fans:
Paul George is a star in this league, PERIOD.
Objectively, despite Paul George’s lackluster performance in the playoffs, he is still a top 20 player in the NBA. Stars in the NBA do not grow on trees, once you have a top player, you hold on to them for as long as you can. Paul George is arguable the best player that Kawhi has played with. Remember, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker were no longer in their prime during his tenure with the Spurs. Additionally, George is only 30 and will be in his prime for another two-four years. He has too much upside to simply cast a side because of a bad playoff appearance. If you trade away George only after one year, not only would you leave a bad taste in Kawhi’s mouth, but you would alienate potential stars that may think about taking their talents to the LAC. Lastly, Tyronn Lue has replaced Doc Rivers as the coach of the Clippers, so we may see a new and improved system and rotations from last year.
Not your Daddy’s Clippers
Trading away Paul now would be disastrous for the Clippers and show how incompetent the franchise is.
But these aren’t your daddy’s Clippers from yester-years. It’s a whole different squad, owner, coach (and soon arena). With that being said, do not over react to the disappointing playoff run in the bubble. Paul George is a fantastic player that any team would be happy to have. Give him a chance to get situated with the franchise and team mates. Then fans will see a significant improvement.