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NBA PM: Sky is the Limit for Paul George
Posted By Alex Kennedy On February 10, 2012 @ 5:00 pm In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
There’s no question that Paul George has elevated his game this season. He has nearly doubled his production from his rookie year and has been instrumental in the Indiana Pacers’ early success. The 21-year-old has been phenomenal and continues to take advantage of the opportunity that Pacers head coach Frank Vogel has given him.
“They’ve given me the chance to learn, the chance to make mistakes and improve from them,” George told HOOPSWORLD. “Playing so many minutes has really helped my confidence and I thank Coach Vogel for the spot that he’s put me in right now. He has been an amazing coach and a great leader for us. He puts us in the right situations and makes sure that we’re always ready.”
The Pacers currently sit at 17-8, with big wins against the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and Dallas Mavericks. In the latter win, George scored a career-high 30 points and chipped in 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals. While George has shown tremendous progress individually, he’s more excited about the team’s success.
“It’s great. This is a great opportunity me, being a young player on a fairly young team and having the success that we’re having. It’s a lot of fun and I look forward to every day. I look forward to practice, games, everything. The whole vibe is just making the season that much better,” George said.
George’s improvement is a testament to the hard work he put in during the offseason. For the last two offseasons, George has worked out with Pacers teammate Danny Granger to expand his game. Veterans like Granger and new addition David West have helped George become a professional and improve.
“It has helped me a lot,” George said. “I spent a lot time Danny over the past two summers. I’ve definitely learned a lot from Danny. It’s been great to play with David too. He understands how to play this game. He’s a great passer, great scorer and great defender. He does everything on the floor.”
George is still growing, both on and off the court. He grew two inches over the summer and currently stands at six-foot-ten, which allows him to tower over opposing shooting guards.
“I’ve grown every summer since I was in high school. Who knows where I’ll end up when all is said and done? I may be [a seven-footer] eventually, we’ll see,” George said with a laugh.
“I definitely have an advantage posting up smaller guards or shooting over smaller guards,” George said. “That’s the biggest advantage that I have. I still have the length and quickness to bother them defensively, but I can play over smaller guards.”
George is currently averaging 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists. He has started every game for Indiana after starting just 19 games last season. Across the board, his numbers have improved. He’s averaging more points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. He has increased his three-point percentage from .297 to .444. and his free throw percentage is up to .839 from .762.
The second-year player is already seeing his hard work pay off. After not receiving an invite to the NBA’s rookie-sophomore game last season, George was among sophomores selected to play in this year’s game. There’s also a rumor circulating that he’ll be participating in this year’s dunk contest.
He has an excellent work ethic and wants to be one of the best players in the league.
“I want to be an All-Star,” George said. “More importantly, I want to continue to grow as a team player and be on a winning team. But yeah, as far as personal goals go, I definitely want to be an All-Star. I want to be the MVP of this league one day.”
George has all of the tools to be a great player and the sky is the limit for him going forward.
Watson Wants to Compete in Three-Point Shootout: The Chicago Bulls will be well represented during All-Star Weekend in Orlando. Derrick Rose and Luol Deng will play for the Eastern Conference All-Stars and Tom Thibodeau will likely be coaching the star-studded team. However, another Bull may be participating in All-Star Weekend as well.
C.J. Watson is hoping to compete in the Three-Point Shootout and his camp is lobbying for an invite. Watson is currently shooting .466 from behind the arc, which is the seventh-highest percentage in the NBA trailing only Brandon Rush, Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Steve Novak, Klay Thompson and Chris Paul. Watson has knocked down 27 three-pointers this year off of Chicago’s bench.
Compared to the past five Three-Point Contest champions, Watson’s shooting percentage heading into the All-Star Break would be the third-highest only behind two-time winner Jason Kapono. Last year, James Jones won the contest over Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Durant, Daniel Gibson and Dorell Wright.
“It would be an honor and a privilege,” Watson told HOOPSWORLD. “I watch it every year and grew up watching it. If I was selected, it would be a lifelong dream come true. It would be great to represent my family and the Bulls in the three-point contest this year.”
The participants for the 2012 Three-Point Shootout will be announced in the coming days.
Kobe Would Love to Play With LeBron: If Kobe Bryant could play with any player in the NBA, who would it be? Recently, Bryant was asked that question and, after giving it some thought, went with LeBron James.
“That’s a tough question because I’ve played with a lot of great players, being on the Olympic team,” Bryant said on 710 ESPN‘s Max & Marcellus Show. “I think that the player I would probably [like to] play with the most, where the pieces would fit, would be myself and LeBron [James], believe it or not, because he’s more of a facilitator and I’m more of a scorer. … He’s a modern version of what Oscar [Robertson] was. He just puts up genius numbers.”
In the past, Bryant and James have been described as rivals, who don’t necessarily like each another. However, Bryant acknowledges that James is a once-in-a-generation player and he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to play with him.
When asked if he’d rather play with Dwight Howard or Deron Williams, Bryant wasn’t so revealing.
“Give me both, how about that?” Bryant said with a laugh.
NBA Chats: There were two NBA chats today. Yannis Koutroupis held his weekly chat at 11 a.m. EST. I wrapped had my weekly chat at 1 p.m. EST. You can always find the next upcoming chat here: Upcoming NBA Chats. If you are looking for a chat that has already been completed try here: Previous NBA Chats
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