Paul George was one of the hottest names in the NBA heading into the 2017-18 NBA season. Most of that had to do with the blockbuster trade that sent him to the Oklahoma City Thunder, with Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis heading back to the Indiana Pacers. Now, there is some concern in Oklahoma City that George is not fitting well with the new Thunder roster.
Shortly following the trade, the national media said that the Thunder stole George from the Pacers. They said that the Pacers did not get enough in return for their franchise player. That has not been the case over the past couple of weeks.
Indiana has flourished with Oladipo and Sabonis. Both young players have become cornerstones for the Pacers’ franchise. George, on the other hand, has struggled to find himself with the Thunder.
Through the first seven games of the season with the Thunder, George has averaged 19.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. He has shot 43.2 percent from the field overall and has knocked down 40.4 percent of his three-point attempts.
Obviously, his statistics do not look bad from the outside looking in. That being said, the expectations were much higher for George from the media and from himself. He has put up solid stats, but he has not looked comfortable and has not come close to playing to his full potential.
What has been the issue for George this season? Quite simply, he has not been as aggressive as he needs to be. Confidence has not been an issue for George in recent years, but in a new situation, he has to find himself again.
Before the season, George talked about wanting to be an MVP candidate in the 2017-18 NBA season. He thought that he was ready for that kind of a jump. That has not been the case so far.
Even though George has gotten off to a slower start than most were expecting, it is not time to start worrying about him. Changing to becoming a supporting star, rather than the star of the show, is not an easy task for any player. George is not used to playing with another superstar, much less two.
Oklahoma City simply needs George to find his comfort zone and then become more aggressive offensively.
George is without question capable of being a 25-points-per-game scorer in the NBA. He hasn’t hit that mark yet in his career, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see him get close to it this season.
Russell Westbrook has changed his game dramatically from last year to this season. He has become a much more willing passer, looking to get both George and Carmelo Anthony more involved in the offense. That playmaking ability has enabled George to get wide-open looks from behind the three-point arc.
Assuming the Thunder are able to continue gaining chemistry with each other, George’s numbers will rise. He will become more aggressive and will begin looking like the superstar that he was in Indiana.
Expect to see Paul George find his comfort zone in the next few weeks. Oklahoma City may not be looking like a championship contender just yet, but once George finds his zone, they will be an extremely difficult team to beat.
Do you think Paul George is capable of being an MVP candidate at some point in the future? Are the Thunder a serious title contender this season? Let us know your thoughts!
[Featured Image by Jim Mone/AP Images]