Obviously Paul George's game has grown by leaps and bounds before our eyes, mostly this year. And believe you me, what he has done this year has been awesome. But if he wants to elevate his game to the next level, like top 10 player in the league, there are still a few things he could stand to do better. Let me get this out of the way right now- this is not a thread bashing on the kid. Heck, he's only 22 and in his third professional year, only his second with starters minutes. But he just oozes athleticism and reeks of intangables that had every scout with two good eyes drooling over him on draft day. With that in mind here are a few of my immediate thoughts. Feel free to add to the list, critique and disagree.
-First off the most obvious part of his game that needs changing is Paul's work at home and on the road. I'm sure most people know the numbers but here's a refresher:
Home= FG% .481, 3pt% .496, FT% .839
Away= FG% .372, 3pt% .262, FT% .776
Now, I'm going to chalk most of this up to youth. If he handles his road struggles like he handled the pressure of being "the man" for the Pacers then I think we'll see a turn around in the near future. He's developed a tough skin and what sounds like a steely work ethic. Can't knock hard work.
-Secondly, his ball handling. It has improved remarkably from last seaon, and I'm pretty certain that if he had a usage rate last year close to the one he has this year then he'd have over 6 turnovers a game. So that's a plus. Further proof can be found here. Channeling his inner Isiah Thomas.
But what George really needs is a simple, but affective, crossover. Just a simple shoulder fake, dribble back would be nice. He is so quick and long that he needs to get to the rim (and get more respect from the refs) and his explosive first step is only working so often, mostly on slow or distracted defenders. If he was more cappable of losing his first defender then woah to the big men in the paint he is heading towards with a full head of steam.
-Third, more post-ups. This will become more paramount when Danny comes back and Paul gets paired with more 2 guards, but his incredible height and smooth shot means he's got to take advantage of any guard he gets in the post. Back them down to a comfortable 12-16ft shot, turn and take.
-Lastly (for now), keep developing his ability to read passing lanes while driving. The game today against Memphis makes me even happier about Paul's ability. He has a knack for it, and I've seen him make some really really outstanding passes. If teams do start to consistantly double him he needs to know where he can find open teammates, either cutting to the basket or unguarded for a jumper. I don't think he'll ever be Lebron-esq and his assist per are getting better every game, but he can still improve it.
There are a few other tidbits here and there I could add on but I want to read other's thoughts before I make this a full blown thesis paper. Again, I'm going to add just how much I love how Paul George is playing right now. Me buying his jersey last year is really paying off. My friends think I'm some sort of basketball gensis, but honestly it was pretty obvious this guy had some serious talent.
*I've tried to proof read this thing hardcore but I'm sure I've missed more than I've found. My spelling/typing sometimes makes me look like a 4 year old with a laptop.