This season is about starting something new for the Indiana Pacers, with a changed lineup and basketball style, but also coming back to Paul George, who’ll have his chance to establish himself as one of the best players in the league once more, hoping he actually win the MVP one day, hopefully sooner than later.
The Pacers traded away Roy Hibbert to the Los Angeles Lakers. They lost David West to free agency, him landing with the San Antonio Spurs. From the team that made two consecutive conference finals, George and George Hill are the only remaining lineup players. The Pacers are new, and trying something new. George, maybe changing his position in a radical way, is going to be a big part of the change, hopefully for the better.
After being drafted into the NBA, I was playing from the bench and then tried to be a starter, then an All-Star. My goal now is to be MVP. This year, that hasn’t changed.
During the early phases of the 2013-2014 season George was in the MVP discussion. He was taking another step forward towards becoming one of the most dominant wing players in the league, one of the best players in the NBA. He averaged 21.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. It wasn’t just about playing more minutes (he played less than in the previous season). It was about him becoming a better, more complete player, on both ends of the floor.
For George, it won’t be about picking things up from that moment. He missed almost all of the 2014-2015 season because of a compound fracture. He was supposed to miss the entire season, but managed to come back for the finish, trying to help the Pacers get into the playoffs. They didn’t. They actually played better in the short moments he was on the court, but George was beyond rusty. This offseason was about getting him back to where he was.
MVP? George lives in a world where Kevin Durant and LeBron James are small forwards as well. There’s James Harden, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis. But George has the right mindset. Being, or trying to be the best. Maybe a new system, a new role, and he’ll be closer to fulfilling his wish, although it clearly is a long shot. If the Pacers get back to where they were – a team with a shot at making the NBA Finals, even if it takes more than one season, he’ll probably be satisfied.