Get to Know Your Starting Five: Paul George
Scott Agness | May 21, 2013
Only in his third NBA season, Paul George is quickly becoming a fan favorite and gaining national attention. He was a member of the Eastern Conference All-Star Team in February and was recently won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award. Already he’s one of the elite defenders in the league – he was named to the All-Defensive Second Team– and he has the potential to be the best player in franchise history.
George, just 23 years old, has improved by leaps and bounds in his first few years in the league. His stout defense began to develop as a rookie because that’s the only way he could get on the floor. His ability to guard and contain the opponents’ best wing player has become his best trait. He has a lean frame at 6-foot-8 and 221 pounds, but he possesses incredible length and quickness. He can handle the ball, knock down a step-back or outside shot, and he also has a quick step that allows him to burst into the lane.
Related: Paul George 2012-13 Photo Gallery »
George was dubbed the new face of the franchise in February by Reggie Miller, a man with the credentials to make the claim. Like Miller, George is a California guy. He attended Fresno State and grew up wanting to be like Lakers star Kobe Bryant, although he was more of a Clippers fan.
Before leaving town after the season last summer, George promised Pacers head coach Frank Vogel that he was going to have his best offseason ever and come back a changed player. He did just that, and then in November, he was forced to elevate his game even further when Danny Granger, last year’s leading scorer, was sidelined with a knee injury. George knew the scoring burden was on him and struggled initially.
Things changed for George after his scoreless night on Dec. 1 in Golden State. Once the team charter touched down in Indianapolis around 6 a.m., he immediately went to the Fieldhouse to put up 500 shots and get his confidence back. The next game, he scored 34 points in a win at Chicago. Later, he was named to his first All-Star Game, his second professional goal after making it to the league. George scored 17 points, the most ever scored by a Pacers player. He also participated in the 3-point contest at All-Star Weekend, after participating in the dunk contest the year before.
George is young, athletic and über-talented. Last fall, the Pacers picked up the team-option on his rookie deal, but a max contract deal is almost certain to come George’s way in the near future.
George, who has a shoe deal with Nike, is a shoe aficionado. He has boxes and boxes of shoes at his place and always ensures that his shoes go with that night’s game theme or uniform. George and his teammate George Hill started the G2 Zone, a fan section at Pacers games for some of the most dedicated fans. G2 Zone Twitter » Facebook »
He is a low-key guy that will go out but prefers to stay in with his close friends. He thoroughly enjoys fishing, music and is also big into social media – so check him out on Twitter where he has over 170,000 followers, and on Instagram.
George is averaging 19.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists in 41.5 minutes per game this postseason.
Get to know the other four members of the Pacers starting five below:
Get to Know Pacers Point Guard George Hill »
Get to Know Pacers Shooting Guard Lance Stephenson »
Get to Know Pacers Power Forward David West »
Get to Know Pacers Center Roy Hibbert »
Get to Know Your Starting Five Main Page »
Bonus: Get to Know Pacers Bench Players »
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