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Despite sweep, Paul George has set his standard

Paul George has a huge role to play as the main man for the Indiana Pacers in the NBA. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Roar Guru
24th April, 2017
2

In his second full season back since breaking his leg, Paul George has set the bar high for himself in 2018.

George averaged 23.7 points in 75 games this season, the highest mark of his career. Most importantly, his best two months scoring wise came in March and April, where he averaged 28.5 points in 22 games.

By his own lofty predictions made prior to the start of the season, where he stated that he wants to win the MVP award, his season was below what was expected of him.

But as he has become further removed from his leg injury, and as his level has rose as the season progressed, reaching a pinnacle in the post-season, George has laid the foundations for what should be a very good 2017-18 season.

George also took his efficiency to a new level this season, shooting a career high field goal percentage, eFG per cent, FT per cent, TS per cent and posting the second-best mark of his career in PER and three-point percentage.

George has excelled as the best player on his team, taking on more responsibility and playing 40+ minutes on nine occasions in the regular season.

Paul George rose to the occasion when his team needed him the most – against the defending champions in the first round of the playoffs.

Indiana Pacers forward Paul George drives on the Portland Trailblazers

Unfortunately for the Pacers, they lost the series four games to none, but could have won three of those if they had executed better in the dying stages.

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George averaged 28.3 points in the four games, scoring 30+ in the first three. Often playing out of double teams, George did a good job at hitting threes, making 18 in the series.

A source of frustration for George that could serve as motivation over a long summer is yet another playoff loss to LeBron James.

George has often spoken about his respect for LeBron, but has not held back on his desire to dethrone him from his position of power in the Eastern Conference, saying before the start of their most recent series that he is ‘sick of losing to that guy.’

There is also the possibility that George’s days are numbered in Indiana. He is under contract through next season, but has a player option for the 2018-19 season.

The thought of him returning closer to home to play for the Los Angeles Lakers is something that has been talked about for quite some time, and the possibility of a trade will undoubtedly be talked about in the media, if not behind closed doors also.

While it is unlikely the Pacers would pull the plug on a trade without having a clear indication he is unlikely to stay with the team long-term, such negotiations could lead to distractions throughout the season.

And that could be the only thing stopping Paul George from having a genuine breakout season in 2018.

He has laid the foundations through the last two months of the 2017 season, and has built on a growing playoff resume, and now the only thing stopping Paul George from dominating the league as he moves into his prime years is himself.

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Over to you, Paul.