Assistant coach helps Paul George blossom
by Mike Wells, USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS — It was inevitable that they would form a bond. They both share a fondness for fishing. One played with and coached Kobe Bryant. The other was a fan of Bryant’s growing up and continues to admire his work ethic today.
With much in common, Indiana Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw and swingman Paul George have developed a strong relationship marked by an open line of communication no matter whether the subject is positive or negative.
George also credits Shaw, along with head coach Frank Vogel, for helping him become an All-Star in just his third year in the league.
“He’s really helped me out,” George said of Shaw. “He’s the one that gets on me. If I’m not playing well, if things aren’t going right, and he knows I’m the reason for it, he’ll let me hear about it.”
Shaw admits he didn’t know much about George prior to becoming Vogel’s lead assistant during the summer of 2011. Shaw knew George was from the Los Angeles area, went to Fresno State and grew up watching the Lakers.
During last season’s lockout, when teams couldn’t communicate with their players, Shaw watched film and broke down George’s game.
He saw something special in the lanky 6-9 wing player.
“When he got here (after the lockout), I immediately noticed his size and his ability to defend and he had all the tools, the footwork,” Shaw said. “It was just a matter of getting his confidence up.”
George began picking Shaw’s brain about Bryant’s work ethic the first day they met.
“How is Kobe in practice? Does he show up early and stay late? What’s his game-day ritual like?” George would always ask Shaw.
The relationship between Shaw and George didn’t really take off, though, until the playoffs last season.
And it wasn’t because of a spectacular play George made or a costly mistake … [For more on Assistant coach helps Paul George blossom into Pacers star, click here.]