Has Paul George earned All Star nod?
by Mike Wells, USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Pacers third-year swingman Paul George stood in front of the large assembled media crowd in early October and talked about the team’s expectations this season.
Then the focus shifted to what he wanted to accomplish.
George called himself the “X factor” and admitted he wants to make the All-Star team at some point in his career.
The latter part of George’s comment was brushed aside at the time. Every player in the league wants to make the All-Star team. And George had a difficult time with consistency during his first two years.
It turns out George may have a chance to make the All-Star team sooner than he expected.
He averaged 18.8 points in December and kicked off the new year by scoring 29 against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday. He’s averaging 16.9 points on the season and was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week last month.
The Pacers are in Boston Friday to take on the Celtics.
What George has in his favor vs. a player such as Toronto’s DeMar DeRozen is that the Pacers (19-13) have a winning record, something coaches usually take into consideration when voting.
“He’s definitely worthy of consideration,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “When you have a team that is fourth in the East, you usually get one or two All Stars who go. Our guys, we don’t have 25-points-a-game guys on our team, but David (West) and Paul are certainly playing at All-Star levels right now.”
George is playing so well that his scoreless game at Golden State last month has become a distant memory.
He has recorded six double-doubles this season, including four in the past eight games. He also has scored in double figures in 15 straight games.
The humbling experience in the Bay Area turned out to be a wake-up call for the 22-year-old George.
He came into the season a different player after an offseason with Team USA and a trip to Asia with LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
“You saw a different Paul when he showed up for camp,” Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard said. “Players make themselves in the summer. That’s where you can make some … [For more on Has Indiana Pacers Paul George earned All Star nod?, click here.]