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View Full Version : Analyzing the Ceiling of Paul George



ESutt7
07-02-2012, 01:00 PM
With all of the free agency rumors, Eric Gordon trade rumors, etc. floating around I thought it would be a good time to take a look at Paul George's career thus far, and his potential in the future. PG is a more natural 3, but has played well at the 2, giving him some nice versatility, particularly defensively. Given his body type, athleticism, and versatile game I've compared his career numbers to 2 historical players and 2 current players.

Rookie Season:
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mpg
ppg
rpg
apg
spg
bpg
fg
3p
ft


George
20.7
7.8
3.7
1.1
1
0.4
45
30
76


Pippen
20.9
7.9
3.8
2.1
1.2
0.7
46
17
58


McKey
20.8
8.5
4
1.3
0.8
0.8
49
37
77


Iguodala
33
9
5.7
3
1.7
0.6
49
33
74


Deng
27.3
11.7
5.5
2.2
0.8
0.4
43
26
74

</tbody>



























































</tbody>
George compares very closely to Pippen and McKey in their rookie seasons. Iggy and Deng played more minutes, but had relatively similar numbers with the rest of the group.

Sophomore Season:
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mpg
ppg
rpg
apg
spg
bpg
fg
3p
ft


George
29.7
12.1
5.6
2.4
1.6
0.6
44
39
80


Pippen
33.1
14.4
6.1
3.5
1.9
0.8
48
27
67


McKey
34.2
15.9
5.7
2.7
1.3
0.8
50
34
80


Iguodala
37.6
12.3
5.9
3.1
1.6
0.3
50
35
75


Deng
33.4
14.3
6.6
1.9
0.9
0.6
46
27
75

</tbody>



























































</tbody>

George, Pippen, and McKey all saw their minutes increase quite a bit in their 2nd seasons. McKey nearly doubled his scoring, while Pippen also took a big step forward. Pippen and George's 3P% took the biggest leap in terms of the shooting categories. Here George compares nicely with Iguodala and McKey in particular. Those 3 are the best shooters of the group at this point. While McKey and Iguodala have a better FG%, George is the best 3P shooter of the bunch.

3rd Season:

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<colgroup><col style="width:65pt" span="10" width="65"> </colgroup><tbody>

mpg
ppg
rpg
apg
spg
bpg
fg
3p
ft


George
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?


Pippen
38.4
16.5
6.7
5.4
1.9
0.8
49
25
67


McKey
34
15.7
6.1
2.3
1.1
1
49
13
78


Iguodala
40.3
18.2
5.7
5.7
2
0.4
45
31
82


Deng
37.5
18.8
7.1
2.5
1.2
0.6
52
14
78

</tbody>

Here we start to see some differences. Iggy and Deng are more featured scorers, and make a nice jump in that category. Pippen continues to grow. McKey essentially plateaus, and has very similar numbers for the next 8 years.

So what will George do next season? He's in the unique position, of these players I've compared him to, of being essentially the 4th or 5th option consistently. Deng and Iggy were being featured more often offensively throughout their careers to this point. I can't speak to the Pippen/McKey comparison as much, as I didn't see it myself. But, while those players continued to grow, the only player you could argue was a "franchise" player is Pippen.

Each of these players is very good, borderline All-Star, versatile, and would start for most teams. They're all 2 way players. However, none is a "franchise" guy that you build around (once again, you could argue Pippen could have been). They can be key pieces, core pieces, but they aren't guys you can run your offense through or expect big scoring nights regularly. They'll fill different parts of the box score nightly, but you aren't winning a championship with them as your best player.

The only player of this group to EVER average over 20 ppg was Pippen, and even he did it only 4 times in his career (2x without MJ of course).

The Pacers have the difficult decision of whether they should hope that he becomes that kind of player, or if we will continue to have a group of good versatile players without any go-to player. It has hurt us in the playoffs when plays break down. My other concern is that George could plateau like McKey did by settling into his current role with the Pacers. Not that that is a bad career by any means. George would likely benefit either be being a more prominent feature of our offensive attack, or by being traded in a deal for Gordon where he would be prominently featured in New Orleans' offense. Doing that could help him possibly make a leap to All-Star caliber.

So George appears to be on the path to a very good career, but will likely never be a "franchise" player. He may be a borderline All-Star at some point, but not without a more prominent offensive role. He'll certainly be an important part of the team going forward, unless the Pacers decide that the risk of Gordon's potential "franchise"/superstar level is worth sacrificing George for.

Pace Maker
07-02-2012, 01:05 PM
I think the Rudy Gay comparisons are pretty good.

Mac_Daddy
07-02-2012, 01:10 PM
I think George will probably end up at about 15/6/3 this coming season. I also expect he'll work on his dribble/driving and get to the foul line more often.

Pingu
07-02-2012, 01:16 PM
If Paul had Jamaal Tinsley's ball-handling skills, Stephen Jackson's confidence, and Jeff Foster's intensity, his ceiling would be really, really high.

I don't think he'll ever be more than a good role player (a defensive specialist who can shoot the 3) unless he progresses in all three areas.

Mac_Daddy
07-02-2012, 01:20 PM
If Paul had Jamaal Tinsley's ball-handling skills, Stephen Jackson's confidence, and Jeff Foster's intensity, his ceiling would be really, really high.

I don't think he'll ever be more than a good role player (a defensive specialist who can shoot the 3) unless he progresses in all three areas.

I'm okay if he would have Granger's ball-handling skills. Not a lot of players have Tinsley's seldomly-used skill.

BringJackBack
07-02-2012, 01:27 PM
Paul George also needs to get bigger. Hit the weights, bulk up for a year or two.

That would make him more enforcing in his line drives, his post game, and his balance much better. Work on strength, ball handling, and specifically go to moves off the dribble. If he works on those three things, his game would open up like an envelope

The Future
07-02-2012, 01:44 PM
Some people compared him to T-Mac.

I dont see it at all.

He doesnt have his scoring ability or ball handling which is key to getting to the rim.

T-mac is a once in a life time talent and I would love George to develop into a 20 ppg scorer!

Mac_Daddy
07-02-2012, 06:49 PM
Some people compared him to T-Mac.

I dont see it at all.

He doesnt have his scoring ability or ball handling which is key to getting to the rim.

T-mac is a once in a life time talent and I would love George to develop into a 20 ppg scorer!

It really was a shame to see him fade into obscurity. He could have been one hell of a HoFer.

Pacergeek
07-02-2012, 07:14 PM
The number one skill Paul needs improvement on is finishing strongly around the rim. Too many times, instead of dunking it powerfully like a man, he would try some dipsy-do nonsense that rarely worked. Paul is so athletic and talented, he should really be dunking in peoples faces way more often

Downtown Bang!
07-02-2012, 10:37 PM
The turnovers and passive offense in the playoffs have me doubting what the Pacers really have in PG. There is time and players mature at different rates but I'm concerned the phrase "solid third option" will be how we ultimately describe his impact on the offense.

BigAndy
07-02-2012, 10:42 PM
The number one skill Paul needs improvement on is finishing strongly around the rim. Too many times, instead of dunking it powerfully like a man, he would try some dipsy-do nonsense that rarely worked. Paul is so athletic and talented, he should really be dunking in peoples faces way more often

Ha yeah, there were times when he would drive to the basket and I would be like yes..YES...YESSS, anticipating a nasty dunk on the guy standing there, and he would just toss up some nonsense tough layup.

PacersHomer
07-02-2012, 10:45 PM
Most of his flaws can be worked on and a lot have to do with him being so young. His ceiling is ridiculously high. He's amazingly athletically gifted. 6-10 guy who can guard point guards, was in the dunk competition, and can hit 3s? Once he bulks up, gets more confident, and becomes a better dribbler, all of which are very possible and maybe probable, he'll be killing teams.

Really?
07-02-2012, 11:20 PM
Don't think he will ever get a killer instinct so I say Fringe All-star at best...

Wage
07-03-2012, 01:08 AM
Don't think he will ever get a killer instinct so I say Fringe All-star at best...

I could see a rich man's Thabo Sefolosha, but I hope for more.

PacersForever
07-03-2012, 01:57 AM
I don't think its a matter of killer instinct. Its more of his IQ and being a raw talent.

If he would put in the work to become a consistent post player, read defenses better, better dribbling and

develop a few goto moves he would start to reach his potential. He runs into guys to much and picks up fouls.

He's much like Brandon Rush but ovs bigger body and more athleticism but they just don't utilize it to what they could.

Nonetheless PG is still an effective player now. He's career would last much longer if he were able

to develop the above if not once his athleticism runs out hes done.

I think he can reach his potential esp givin his age. The jump to the third year is huge. But he has to put in the work.

imbtyler
07-03-2012, 02:09 AM
If Danny is Batman, PG needs to stop being Robin and metamorphosize into Nightwing (#superherocomparisons). I think he has the potential to be his own player, instead of someone else's sidekick. I'd just hate for him to go be that player for some other team.

Lance George
07-03-2012, 02:20 AM
Not to undermine your hard work, ESutt7, but if you go to Basketball Reference, one of their many great features is the ability to compare up to six players, either their entire careers or at any specific point. They give you tons of stats; normal stats, per-36 stats, advanced stats, playoff stats, etc.

Sophomore Seasons: Deng vs. Gay vs. George vs. Iguodala vs. McKey vs. Pippen (http://bkref.com/tiny/5bsNd)

http://oi48.tinypic.com/15psqib.jpg (http://bkref.com/tiny/5bsNd)



Rudy Gay's numbers look excellent until you realize he was given 25% of a 22-win Memphis team's possessions with which to inflate his production. I also think Paul's game is a little more complete than Rudy Gay's. He's a better passer, shooter, and a slightly better rebounder at the same point in their careers.

If Paul lives up to his potential, I think he'll be the clear-cut second-best player from this group. He has the all-around game that Gay lacks, the superstar athleticism that Deng lacks, and the size and shooting touch that Iggy could only dream of having.

If he's give full starter minutes (36~) next year, than 15, 7, 3 is very reasonable. If he impresses enough to where he can eventually become our #1 option, then 20-25 ppg, 5-7 rpg, and 4 apg is within his range -- not quite prime T-Mac, but maybe another Paul, Paul Pierce (http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/p/piercpa01.html). He has the potential to be the most talented player the NBA Pacers have ever had.

On a side note, it's interesting to see that, of the two 1987 draft (http://www.basketball-reference.com/draft/NBA_1987.html)ees, Derrick McKey (9th pick) was probably slightly ahead of Scottie Pippen (5th) in their second seasons. Funny how lopsided that turned out. Let's hope Paul's progress is more in like with Scottie's and not McKey's.

CJ Jones
07-03-2012, 02:58 AM
He should be compared to SGs though, shouldn't he? I'd say he's doing pretty good considering we're playing him at SG when he's clearly a SF.

People who have lost faith in Paul's ceiling being all star caliber need to realize that him being the 4-5 option and playing against SGs is going to skew his statistics (scoring and rebounding). He could play more minutes, too. If you look at his 36 min stats they look pretty good.

I don't want to get into all the obvious reasons he'd be more effective on the stat sheet at SF. I will say though, it's my opinion we're holding Paul back playing him the way we are. I'm affraid he'll never fulfill his potential playing SG alongside Danny and a PG that doesn't see the floor or distribute well. It would be unfortunate because if he ends up being a player like Thabo it will be on us... not him.






I'm okay if he would have Granger's ball-handling skills. Not a lot of players have Tinsley's seldomly-used skill.

ESutt7
07-03-2012, 09:06 AM
Not to undermine your hard work, ESutt7, but if you go to Basketball Reference, one of their many great features is the ability to compare up to six players, either their entire careers or at any specific point. They give you tons of stats; normal stats, per-36 stats, advanced stats, playoff stats, etc.



Cool, didn't know that. Thanks.

The point to doing this for me was to decide whether the risk of giving him up in an Eric Gordon trade would be worth it. It's hard to say. But by looking at the numbers, I personally don't think he'll reach that 20+ ppg scoring level to be your dominant player. I think he'll always be a nice 2nd or 3rd option, but we are currently a team full of those. Gordon can be your #1 option (if healthy of course, which is part of the problem) while still being a good defender. PG is likely a better or more versatile defender.

But I definitely agree with CJ, I think we'll hold PG back. Looking at our team for the next 2-3 years (assuming we match Hibbert), PG is likely going to remain the 4th-5th option quite a bit when on the court. At a certain point that just becomes how you play, and he won't try to be anything more than a mid-teens scorer, an offensive role player instead of a key go-to player.

It will be interesting to see if the Pacers do start to go to him more. Vogel has admitted we rarely call plays for him. There are a number of very simple changes PG could make where his scoring could pretty easily jump to 18 ppg or so, especially with more being run for him and hopefully being a better finisher near the rim. I hope that we start to go to him more to see what exactly he can be for us. He has plenty of talent to be a top player, but even looking at who he's comparable to, none of those guys are go-to cornerstones, but key 2nd-3rd guys on a serious contender.

Really?
07-03-2012, 09:51 AM
I don't think its a matter of killer instinct. Its more of his IQ and being a raw talent.

If he would put in the work to become a consistent post player, read defenses better, better dribbling and

develop a few goto moves he would start to reach his potential. He runs into guys to much and picks up fouls.

He's much like Brandon Rush but ovs bigger body and more athleticism but they just don't utilize it to what they could.

Nonetheless PG is still an effective player now. He's career would last much longer if he were able

to develop the above if not once his athleticism runs out hes done.

I think he can reach his potential esp givin his age. The jump to the third year is huge. But he has to put in the work.

I think if he adds that then he will still be a fringe allstar, if he does not get a killer instinct. I was taking that stuff into consideration. I never think his shot will be as consistent as one would want, but, I think if he is more aggressive, and learns to go at folks, get to the rim and get to the foul like then he will be a lot more of an offensive weapon.

I am hoping PG makes a big stride this year.

Ace E.Anderson
07-03-2012, 09:55 AM
He should be compared to SGs though, shouldn't he? I'd say he's doing pretty good considering we're playing him at SG when he's clearly a SF.

People who have lost faith in Paul's ceiling being all star caliber need to realize that him being the 4-5 option and playing against SGs is going to skew his statistics (scoring and rebounding). He could play more minutes, too. If you look at his 36 min stats they look pretty good.

I don't want to get into all the obvious reasons he'd be more effective on the stat sheet at SF. I will say though, it's my opinion we're holding Paul back playing him the way we are. I'm affraid he'll never fulfill his potential playing SG alongside Danny and a PG that doesn't see the floor or distribute well. It would be unfortunate because if he ends up being a player like Thabo it will be on us... not him.

While I do agree that certain circumstances MAY be holding PG back, Paul George will ultimately decide how good he is, not anybody else. At some point, if you really are that talented, you've got to "go get yours", and not defer to other players.

Look at Kobe in his second year. He was air-balling 3's against the Utah Jazz in the playoffs, but he was going to get his, b/c he felt he was the best player on the court. If PG wants to be THAT good, he needs to believe he's that good, and not let other players stand in his way. Unfortunately, I don't think you can develop that type of thinking; either you have it or you dont. I don't think PG has it.

All in all, if he ends up being an Iguodala/Deng/J.Smith type of versatile player who plays great defense and can get you 17-20 ppg, then I'm not too disappointed. Not EVERYONE with talent and athletic gifts become superstars.

aaronb
07-03-2012, 10:34 AM
With all of the free agency rumors, Eric Gordon trade rumors, etc. floating around I thought it would be a good time to take a look at Paul George's career thus far, and his potential in the future. PG is a more natural 3, but has played well at the 2, giving him some nice versatility, particularly defensively. Given his body type, athleticism, and versatile game I've compared his career numbers to 2 historical players and 2 current players.

Rookie Season:
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<style> <!--table {mso-displayed-decimal-separator:"\."; mso-displayed-thousand-separator:"\,";} @page {margin:1.0in .75in 1.0in .75in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in;} td {padding-top:1px; padding-right:1px; padding-left:1px; mso-ignore:padding; color:black; font-size:12.0pt; font-weight:400; font-style:normal; text-decoration:none; font-family:Calibri, sans-serif; mso-font-charset:0; mso-number-format:General; text-align:general; vertical-align:bottom; border:none; mso-background-source:auto; mso-pattern:auto; mso-protection:locked visible; white-space:nowrap; mso-rotate:0;} .xl63 {text-align:right;} --> </style>
<colgroup><col style="width:65pt" span="10" width="65"> </colgroup><tbody>

mpg
ppg
rpg
apg
spg
bpg
fg
3p
ft


George
20.7
7.8
3.7
1.1
1
0.4
45
30
76


Pippen
20.9
7.9
3.8
2.1
1.2
0.7
46
17
58


McKey
20.8
8.5
4
1.3
0.8
0.8
49
37
77


Iguodala
33
9
5.7
3
1.7
0.6
49
33
74


Deng
27.3
11.7
5.5
2.2
0.8
0.4
43
26
74

</tbody>



























































</tbody>
George compares very closely to Pippen and McKey in their rookie seasons. Iggy and Deng played more minutes, but had relatively similar numbers with the rest of the group.

Sophomore Season:
<style> <!--table {mso-displayed-decimal-separator:"\."; mso-displayed-thousand-separator:"\,";} @page {margin:1.0in .75in 1.0in .75in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in;} td {padding-top:1px; padding-right:1px; padding-left:1px; mso-ignore:padding; color:black; font-size:12.0pt; font-weight:400; font-style:normal; text-decoration:none; font-family:Calibri, sans-serif; mso-font-charset:0; mso-number-format:General; text-align:general; vertical-align:bottom; border:none; mso-background-source:auto; mso-pattern:auto; mso-protection:locked visible; white-space:nowrap; mso-rotate:0;} --> </style>
<colgroup><col style="width:65pt" span="10" width="65"> </colgroup><tbody>












<style> <!--table {mso-displayed-decimal-separator:"\."; mso-displayed-thousand-separator:"\,";} @page {margin:1.0in .75in 1.0in .75in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in;} td {padding-top:1px; padding-right:1px; padding-left:1px; mso-ignore:padding; color:black; font-size:12.0pt; font-weight:400; font-style:normal; text-decoration:none; font-family:Calibri, sans-serif; mso-font-charset:0; mso-number-format:General; text-align:general; vertical-align:bottom; border:none; mso-background-source:auto; mso-pattern:auto; mso-protection:locked visible; white-space:nowrap; mso-rotate:0;} .xl63 {text-align:right;} --> </style>
<colgroup><col style="width:65pt" span="10" width="65"> </colgroup><tbody>

mpg
ppg
rpg
apg
spg
bpg
fg
3p
ft


George
29.7
12.1
5.6
2.4
1.6
0.6
44
39
80


Pippen
33.1
14.4
6.1
3.5
1.9
0.8
48
27
67


McKey
34.2
15.9
5.7
2.7
1.3
0.8
50
34
80


Iguodala
37.6
12.3
5.9
3.1
1.6
0.3
50
35
75


Deng
33.4
14.3
6.6
1.9
0.9
0.6
46
27
75

</tbody>



























































</tbody>

George, Pippen, and McKey all saw their minutes increase quite a bit in their 2nd seasons. McKey nearly doubled his scoring, while Pippen also took a big step forward. Pippen and George's 3P% took the biggest leap in terms of the shooting categories. Here George compares nicely with Iguodala and McKey in particular. Those 3 are the best shooters of the group at this point. While McKey and Iguodala have a better FG%, George is the best 3P shooter of the bunch.

3rd Season:

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mpg
ppg
rpg
apg
spg
bpg
fg
3p
ft


George
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?


Pippen
38.4
16.5
6.7
5.4
1.9
0.8
49
25
67


McKey
34
15.7
6.1
2.3
1.1
1
49
13
78


Iguodala
40.3
18.2
5.7
5.7
2
0.4
45
31
82


Deng
37.5
18.8
7.1
2.5
1.2
0.6
52
14
78

</tbody>

Here we start to see some differences. Iggy and Deng are more featured scorers, and make a nice jump in that category. Pippen continues to grow. McKey essentially plateaus, and has very similar numbers for the next 8 years.

So what will George do next season? He's in the unique position, of these players I've compared him to, of being essentially the 4th or 5th option consistently. Deng and Iggy were being featured more often offensively throughout their careers to this point. I can't speak to the Pippen/McKey comparison as much, as I didn't see it myself. But, while those players continued to grow, the only player you could argue was a "franchise" player is Pippen.

Each of these players is very good, borderline All-Star, versatile, and would start for most teams. They're all 2 way players. However, none is a "franchise" guy that you build around (once again, you could argue Pippen could have been). They can be key pieces, core pieces, but they aren't guys you can run your offense through or expect big scoring nights regularly. They'll fill different parts of the box score nightly, but you aren't winning a championship with them as your best player.

The only player of this group to EVER average over 20 ppg was Pippen, and even he did it only 4 times in his career (2x without MJ of course).

The Pacers have the difficult decision of whether they should hope that he becomes that kind of player, or if we will continue to have a group of good versatile players without any go-to player. It has hurt us in the playoffs when plays break down. My other concern is that George could plateau like McKey did by settling into his current role with the Pacers. Not that that is a bad career by any means. George would likely benefit either be being a more prominent feature of our offensive attack, or by being traded in a deal for Gordon where he would be prominently featured in New Orleans' offense. Doing that could help him possibly make a leap to All-Star caliber.

So George appears to be on the path to a very good career, but will likely never be a "franchise" player. He may be a borderline All-Star at some point, but not without a more prominent offensive role. He'll certainly be an important part of the team going forward, unless the Pacers decide that the risk of Gordon's potential "franchise"/superstar level is worth sacrificing George for.

Good info,

I've always thought that Paul George and Derrick McKey always seemed like logical comps. Similar body types and playing styles.

graphic-er
07-03-2012, 01:07 PM
Tayshaun Prince 2.0!

CJ Jones
07-03-2012, 05:28 PM
While I do agree that certain circumstances MAY be holding PG back, Paul George will ultimately decide how good he is, not anybody else. At some point, if you really are that talented, you've got to "go get yours", and not defer to other players.



I'm just saying it's our responsibility to help him develop his skills, and we're not doing that playing him out of position and rarely calling plays for him. We should be posting him up nearly every time down the court until he figures it out if we're trying to make him a SG. That's what teams do in the NBA... they take advantage of mismatches. He has one every game, but we rarely post him up. It doesn't make since. He's losing a basket a game playing with non passers and bad fast break players, too.

He's never going to develop a killer instinct playing the role we have him playing. He needs some help.






Good info,

I've always thought that Paul George and Derrick McKey always seemed like logical comps. Similar body types and playing styles.


Tayshaun Prince 2.0!

McKey and Prince have/had no where near the talent Paul George has.

PacersHomer
07-03-2012, 06:29 PM
Tayshaun Prince 2.0!

This is the worst comparison I've heard and you always say it. George is already a better offensive player than Prince was.

Eleazar
07-03-2012, 07:12 PM
I think this season will be very telling for George.