“THE PACERS PAUL GEORGE IS BACK”
Coming off a superb 20013-1014 season Paul George was at the top of his game. Named a 3rd-team All-NBA selection put George among the elite in the sport. On August 1, 2014 George went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. In a meaningless USA National Team scrimmage, Houston superstar James Harden went up for a shot with George defending him. What happened next changed the 2014-15 season for the Indiana Pacers, George and the rest of the Eastern Conference. George landed awkwardly and suffered a gruesome compound fracture of both bones in his lower right leg. Through a rigorous rehab process the 25-year old California native made it back for the last 6 regular season games.
Paul George was not a highly recruited high school player. Choosing Fresno State University over Georgetown, Penn State, and Pepperdine barely put a blip on the recruiting scene. What the 6’9″ SF/SG did in his 2 years in college did, however. George showed off superb athleticism and an improved overall game where he eventually declared for the 2010 NBA Draft. The Indiana Pacers took the chance and selected George with the 10th overall pick. It was a picked that changed the direction of the franchise.
Coming off a solid rookie season which included being named a 2nd team NBA All-Rookie Team selection, George blossomed in his second year. By his 3rd year, he was awarded with his first NBA ALL-STAR appearance and began being included in the same breath as the NBA’s elite. Averaging 17.4pts, 7.6reb, 4.1ast, 1.8stl during the 2012-13 season showed what type of player Pacers General Manager Larry Bird had selected. There are a handful of legit superstars and Paul George was on his way to becoming one.
The 2013-14 season was another monster season. On his way to another 3rd team ALL-NBA selection, George averaged 21.7pts, 6.8reb, 3.5ast, 1.9stl and earned his second All-STAR game berth. He led the Pacers into the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Miami Heat and the trio of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade.
George has been a great example of what can happen when you combine hard work and determination. There were no guarantees him or anybody else who suffered such an injury could make there way back to the level they were at. Through the grueling rehab process and working his way back into game shape, a case can be made that the through the first 34 games of the 2015-16, he is playing the best basketball of his career. Leading the way for the 19-15 Pacers, George is averaging 24.5pts, 7.7reb, and 4ast per game. In the running for the MVP, George is trying to keep Indiana afloat in the Eastern Conference. While the team might be a year or 2 away from competing for a title, one thing is certain. Paul George is back and the game of basketball is better because of that.
PAUL GEORGE AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- NBA ALL-ROOKIE SECOND TEAM (2011)
- NBA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER (2013)
- NBA ALL-DEFENSIVE SECOND TEAM (2013)
- NBA ALL-DEFENSIVE FIRST TEAM (2014)
- 2X ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM (2013, 2014)
- 2X NBA ALL-STAR (2013, 2014)
NOTE: Article was previously written on 1/7/16
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT IN VIDEO
BELOW IS THE PLAY IN WHICH PAUL GEORGE GOT INJURED
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