Philadelphia 76ers: Why Paul George Should Be Top Priority In Free Agency [Opinion]

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As the Philadelphia 76ers prepare for the upcoming NBA offseason, there are quite a few questions about what route they will choose to go. Rumors have been flying about LeBron James possibly leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join forces with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, although many think that he will end up heading elsewhere. There are also a couple other free agents that the 76ers have been connected to already.

One of those other free agents is the other star small forward that will be available. If you guessed Paul George, you would be correct. HoopsHype has already mentioned the 76ers as a potential landing spot for George this offseason.

While bringing in “The King” would be nice for the 76ers, George should actually be their priority in free agency. Why would the 76ers pass up on James for George? Quite simply, George brings more of what the 76ers need than James does.

Looking at the few things that Philadelphia needs to become a serious title contender, there are a couple that stick out the most. They could use more shooting and more defense. Those are the top two talents that George brings to the court each and every night. James is not a deadly shooter, although he does play good defense.

Add in the fact that George is a much younger player that would be able to work and build something special with the young 76ers’ nucleus and he makes even more sense.

During the 2017-18 NBA season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, George ended up averaging 21.9 points per game to go along with 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists. He also chipped in 2.0 steals on the season, while shooting 43.0 percent from the field overall and knocking down 40.1 percent from the three-point line.

At 28 years old, George is without question in his prime and will be throughout his next big contract. James has been signing one-year deals with the ability to leave after a season if he feels it necessary. If the 76ers can only get LeBron to sign for one season and George is willing to sign for three or four, it would be a no-brainer to sign George.

Bringing in the type of knockdown three-point shooting that George brings would be huge for the 76ers. Ben Simmons is a great creator for his teammates, which would fit well with George’s skill-set. James, on the other hand, thrives with the ball in his hands and might clash with Simmons.

Defensively, George would give the 76ers the type of player that can slow down players like James, Kevin Durant, and other top scoring wing players. Philadelphia’s defense is not bad, but adding George would take it to a completely new level.

Plenty of teams will be interested in George this offseason, including the Los Angeles Lakers. Reports have been coming out that George is leaning towards signing with the Lakers, although he is also open to re-signing with the Thunder. If the 76ers want to sign him, they will have to put a full-court press on him immediately when free agency opens.

Obviously, the flashy move would be to sign the best player in the NBA. Some fans might even think targeting George over James would be a bad idea. That being said, George’s game fits the 76ers’ needs much better and that should be a strong consideration for the front office this offseason.

Expect to see a wild offseason this year with plenty of rumors and big-name players potentially moving teams. George and James will headline free agency, but players like DeMarcus Cousins and even Kawhi Leonard, who may end up being traded by the San Antonio Spurs, will spice things up as well.

Philadelphia may not end up aggressively pursuing George this offseason, but they definitely should.