All-Star George Has Bright Future
by Scott Agness
January 24, 2013
Paul George will be representing the Pacers once again during All-Star weekend in mid-February, but this time, he’ll be playing in the big show.
George was selected on Thursday night as a reserve for the East All-Star team, which will face the best of the West on Sunday, Feb. 17 in Houston.
The East starters, announced one week ago include Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony. George will be joined on the East roster with Chris Bosh, Tyson Chandler, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Jrue Holiday, and Kyrie Irving.
George didn’t win the popularity contest among fans and placed on the team like the starters. He earned it the hard, more meaningful way. Coaches in the Eastern Conference voted for the seven reserves—none of their own—and chose three frontcourt players, two backcourt players and two wildcard players.
“This is a great honor, not just for me, but for our coaches, my teammates and the franchise,” George said. “To be selected by the coaches adds something to being an All-Star. But this doesn't happen without our team being successful, so it's more a recognition for our team than just myself.”
David West had a very good shot of joining George on the East roster but he was passed over, likely because he isn’t a flashy player and so much of his value is in the locker room, for only the team to witness.
Roy Hibbert represented the Pacers in the game last season, making his first All-Star appearance.
George also participated in All-Star weekend last season. He played in in the Rising Stars Challenge, a game between the top rookie and sophomore players. Then, he demonstrated his athletic skills in the dunk contest, although he didn’t win.
This year, he’ll be on the ultimate stage on Feb. 17, against some of the NBA’s best.
So how far has George come in his very young career? Back in 2011, he didn’t make the nine-man rookie roster for the Rising Skills Challenge. Two years later, he’s one of 12 best players in the Eastern Conference.
This is meaningful for George, who deserves every bit of it.
With Danny Granger sidelined with a knee injury, the Pacers needed George to take an increased role. He was going to have to become their go-to guy, and he has. Initially, it wasn’t easy for George, who took him about a month to settle in. One dreadful scoreless night in Golden State, a night he’ll likely never forget, changed everything.
Just over hallway thru this season, George has done a number of things. He has emerged as the team’s best all-around player, set a new career-high with 37 points against New Orleans, one-upped Hall of Famer Reggie Miller for the most three-pointers made in a game, contained some of the best wings in the league and now, earned his first All-Star nod.
George has posted his best numbers of his career, averaging a team-high 17.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game this season. For all he’s done on the offensive end, his defense has been even better.
“If he’s not the best wing defender in the NBA, I don’t know who is,” Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said recently.
The future is incredibly bright for the 22-year-old. This is only the beginning.
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