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Thread: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

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    Default SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/201...george.pacers/

    Here's my idea for All-Star weekend: The NBA should invite Pacers swingman Paul George to compete in both the Slam Dunk and three-point contests.

    The league would be recognizing the emergence of a versatile young player who is viewed by his team as a future star. At 21, George is more than a one-dimensional dunker and a long-distance specialist. He is one of the fundamental reasons for Indiana's 15-6 start, even as he generates long-term hope of becoming a superstar later in his career.

    "Paul's got a chance to be a really good ball player -- beyond really good," said Pacers forward David West, a two-time All-Star. "He doesn't know how really dominant he could be. He's got such great size at the 'two-guard' position, it's almost like Kevin Durant and the size he has at the small forward position. To be a 6-foot-8 two-guard who can shoot it, bring it down the floor, handle it, is as athletic as anybody in the league -- and he's really just learning how to play.''

    Set aside George's potential as a dunker and three-point shooter in Year 2 of his NBA career. What makes him so intriguing is the environment in which he is learning the pro game. Instead of being handed leadership of a young team based on his talent, George is having to earn his role with the deeply talented Pacers, who prefer to play through leading scorer Danny Granger (who had 36 points Wednesday in a win at Minnesota), as well as West and center Roy Hibbert, who could be invited to the All-Star Game with his low-post 14.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.

    Eventually George should earn a more important part in the offense -- he's averaging 11.5 points, and his 8.5 shots per game rank last among Indiana's starters -- but in the meantime, the Pacers are channeling him as a defender. Coach Frank Vogel often shifts George onto opposing point guards in the final minutes. It's a sign of George's unusual ambition, and it also speaks to his talent that he's able to stay in front of point guards and still challenge their shots with his length.

    "When [Tracy] McGrady was young, he played no defense, and not only wasn't he interested but he wasn't capable," said Vogel. "Paul has learned how to use his length to space guys like Derrick Rose or Chris Paul. We said, 'Pressure but space, and make them shoot jumpers over your length. Learn that and you can become a good ball-containment guy.'

    "The thing about [Paul] is he's got a knack for anticipating on the level of Allen Iverson and Eddie Jones -- two great steals guys who know how to play the passing lanes. [Paul] gambles a little too much and that hurts you sometimes, but he led our team last year and he leads us this year in deflections per minute, and he has a knack for blocking shots. What he brings to the defensive table is just as impressive as what he brings offensively, which is not the case in most guys like him that are young, second-year guys with offensive skills."

    George wasn't highly recruited before he spent two seasons with Fresno State. After a recent shootaround on the Pacers bench he was talking about his "small-town" background when Granger, who shrieked with laughter at the notion. "He said he's from a small town," shouted Granger for all his teammates to hear. "L.A. ain't a small town!"

    "I grew up on the outskirts of Los Angeles," George acknowledged a moment later. "In Palmdale, which is a smaller town."

    Had he drawn more attention at a younger age, or gone on to play for a bigger college, George probably would not have been available to the Pacers at No. 10 in the 2010 draft. He averaged 7.8 points in 61 games last season while shooting an unimpressive 29.7 percent from the three-point line. " I had an awkward rotation on the ball," he said. "I had the knuckleball. It was nasty. It had to go straight in or it wasn't going in at all."

    He spent the summer developing a consistent backspin that has enabled him to lead the Pacers in three-point shooting at 45.8 percent this season. Among NBA players who have attempted at least 70 threes, George ranks second to the Celtics' Ray Allen (56.4 percent) in accuracy.

    The improvement of his three-point shooting is creating opportunities for George inside the line. He ranks third on the Pacers with 2.0 assists per game, and he is their most explosive player around the rim. He wasn't surprised by the idea of competing in both the shooting and dunking contests later this month in Orlando. "I think I could compete and possibly win both of those," he said.

    He hasn't been practicing for the dunk contest. "But I have some ideas I've had since this summer," he said. "I got a couple things up my sleeve that I think I can pull off. It beats jumping over the hood of a Kia."

    George made it clear he wasn't trying to criticize Blake Griffin for his winning dunk over a car last year. Based on Griffin's extraordinary talents, George thought he should have been more ambitious.

    "[George's] incredible in the open court," Vogel said. "We freeze-frame races in transition offense. We've got the rebound, here's Paul next to Ray [Allen], let's see who's going to win the race? And we'll just watch him -- whoosh -- he'll stretch out the court and win those open-court races and make himself available for lobs and layups.

    "You go through the offensive skills you get from him, where you can post, you can use pick-and-rolls, you can handle, you're good in the open court, you can shoot the three. He's probably our most willing passer -- he doesn't force stuff a lot, and he's got the size to see over the defense. On the passes that a lot of guards having trouble seeing over big men, he's able to make these passes maybe better than anyone on our team.''

    The point of inviting George to both contests in Orlando would be to recognize a rare young player who is trying to achieve stardom in all areas while playing a meaningful role on a winning team. In other words, if he were to win the Slam Dunk or three-point title, it wouldn't be the most important thing in his career. Isn't that how NBA careers ought to be built?

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul George
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    "I got a couple things up my sleeve that I think I can pull off. It beats jumping over the hood of a Kia."


    Seriously, sky's the limit and this article does a great job of pointing out why. I love Vogel's quote on the difference of George and McGrady.

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    crazy shinaniganz BringJackBack's Avatar
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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    I can't wait until he adds some moves off the dribble other than his step-back jumper from mid-range to three, and his between the legs baseline step back. He'll learn his moves off-the-dribble, refine his post game, and continue to shoot off of screens and you will see a humble superstar with elite defense...

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    Good article, I can't wait until he finally get's to the next level.

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    All it takes is a good dribble. He's one skill (and more experience) away from putting it all together.

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    I love the idea of PG in the dunk contest and the three point contest. Has that ever been done?

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    Gained respect for George, Vogel, and this writer while reading this. Love the language they used to describe how they want him to guard point guards Rose and Paul. It's a sign to me that they get what defense is about in the NBA.

    I just wish they hadn't said anything about other specific players that are still playing like McGrady, Griffin, and Allen. Didn't really slight them too much but guys like that will take anything and use it as extra motivation.

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    I still think the real secret to being great comes from a dark place within the player's gut that refuses to lose and insists on becoming the best no matter what. Players can be very good by just skill and durability and effort. Lots of players are good. Being great is a quality of will that cannot be taught - the player either has the will, or doesn't. Very few players become great, or have the capacity to be great in big moments.

    I don't know whether PG has that quality or not. I will say, based on his college performances and up and down play, I worry that he doesn't have that gut quality. I hope he proves me wrong, but even if he doesn't, he will be a very good player if he puts it all together. And that's something we need.

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    Nice to see Paul George get some national recognition so early.

    He has a long way to go, but there is no question that he has a chance to be the best NBA-era Pacer we've ever seen.

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    Quote Originally Posted by Reggie4Three View Post
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    I just wish they hadn't said anything about other specific players that are still playing like McGrady, Griffin, and Allen. Didn't really slight them too much but guys like that will take anything and use it as extra motivation.
    Eh. At this point, I'm OK with that. We're clearly well positioned to be the bad guy, the annoying upstarts, this season. I'm talking about the Rose and Love whining, and some other media coverage, from ESPN to NBA TV. I spent some time on a few different sports sites the other day and was surprised by how many people seem to really dislike our coach.

    I say bring it, these guys seem up to the challenge and a little "us against them" mentality never hurt a talented and focused team. Matter of fact, if I was Coach V I'd put Reggie's quote up in the locker room or the hallway leading to the court: "I love being the enemy."

    As for PG, it's so exciting to watch him develop. I am trying not to get my hopes up too high, because so many really talented players never seem to put it all together. There are really very few truly elite players. But I'm cautiously optimistic for sure.
    "Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better." - Albert Camus

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    And I would think for sure he should be selected to participate in the rook/soph game also!

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    Hearing David West, a guy who played with a great player in CP3 for so long, speak so highly of PG, that just reaffirms my belief that this kid is going to be special. He has an incredible skill set and is in the process of putting it all together.

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    Does anyone else share in my fear of Paul George's L.A. roots?

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    Quote Originally Posted by 1984 View Post
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    Does anyone else share in my fear of Paul George's L.A. roots?
    lol no.. Kid grew up in palmdale ca, its next to victorville a highly desert area.
    It's 80+ miles from the Staples Center. Paul has no loyalties to LA.
    Kobe is his childhood idle. But you could tell he loves Indiana and the players/coaches. He loves the Pacers and most important money. He's gonna get paid if he reaches his huge potential. He's gonna be able to support his shoe fetish.


    By me ^^

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    He's the only Pacers I've ever thought to myself...what can't he project to do? I don't see anything, honestly.

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    Quote Originally Posted by picasso View Post
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    lol no.. Kid grew up in palmdale ca, its next to victorville a highly desert area.
    It's 80+ miles from the Staples Center. Paul has no loyalties to LA.
    Kobe is his childhood idle. But you could tell he loves Indiana and the players/coaches. He loves the Pacers and most important money. He's gonna get paid if he reaches his huge potential. He's gonna be able to support his shoe fetish.
    Just to follow up more, Palmdale is nothing like L.A.. Palmdale is to LA as Anderson is to Indianapolis. Paul likes the more laid back lifestyle that's in Indy. It was written about a ton when he first got there.

    Haha, what's bad about L.A. roots? I'm from Indy but have been in Cali for about 6 years. I have my thoughts, but I'm curious what others think that means.
    Last edited by imawhat; 02-02-2012 at 07:19 PM.

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    Quote Originally Posted by imawhat View Post
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    Just to follow up more, Palmdale is nothing like L.A.. Paul likes the more laid back lifestyle that's in Indy. It was written about a ton when he first got there.

    Haha, what's bad about L.A. roots? I'm from Indy but have been in Cali for about 6 years. I have my thoughts, but I'm curious what others think that means.
    I believe he is thinking along the lines that PG would bolt Indy for LA

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    "Pressure but space". He definitely does that well. Coaching points for Vogel for instilling that.

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    Just recommended he compete in both competitions yesterday, it seems to be an idea that's catching on.
    There are two types of quarterbacks in the league: Those whom over time, the league figures out ... and those who figure out the league.

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    Plus the rookie-sophomore challenge? That would be one busy Saturday night!

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    Quote Originally Posted by DieHard View Post
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    I love the idea of PG in the dunk contest and the three point contest. Has that ever been done?
    Kenny "The Jet" Smith. Don't remember what year (early 90s I think), but it was when he played for the Kings.

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    I don't understand how this comment can be confusing. [1] There is nothing wrong with California, duh. My family has deep roots in the city of Los Angeles. [2] My point: I am entertaining the same fear I had as a young boy. That my star Pacer from California may be tempted to play for the Lakers. It's not complicated.

    I'm not a pessimist. Rather, I'm just a Paul George fan who wants to see a number 24 banner in the rafters in 20 years.

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    Default Re: SI - Paul George/All Star article - Ian Thomsen

    To OP: I think it would be great for PG to get some more exposure. That's was a really nice read, thank you for posting.

    To people worried that PG might leave: I don't really see it happening. Outer suburbs or smaller cities around LA don't really idolize the city. They look at it more as a traffic nightmare away from perfect suburbia. More importantly, PG seems like a guy that enjoys a more relaxed atmosphere where he can just chill out and play some video games with team mates after practice. Just my 2 cents.

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