After the Indiana Pacers traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Paul George has lofty goals set, including bringing home the MVP trophy.
For the last couple of seasons, Paul George has bordered on being a superstar but hasn’t been able to crack that tier. He’s one of the NBA’s best small forwards, and his game has minimal holes — if any.
George debuted the Thunder’s new Statement jersey on Friday, and NBA TV’s Dennis Scott was able to catch and up with him and ask him a few questions. One of them was whether winning the MVP award was an upcoming goal of his.
“Man, I’m going for it,” said George. “Every summer I train to do it, and it just seems every summer I add something new, and I learn something about myself. This summer I really wanted to attack the weight room and strengthen my body, strengthen my core. I can definitely say that was the next step, to be able to sustain the wear and tear throughout the whole season. So, I’m going for it; I’m going for that hardware.”
Since entering the league in 2011, George has only landed on one MVP ballot. That came back in 2013-14 when he finished ninth overall. Oklahoma City made the deal for PG to give a “sidekick” to reigning MVP Russell Westbrook, who burned out by the start of the playoffs this past year. That automatically gives George some competition. However, he’s almost guaranteed to get more than his fair share of shots.
Westbrook produced historic numbers last year — 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.4 assists — but did so on 24 attempts a night with a usage rate of 41.7 percent. He needs the help desperately.
If we’re honest, the odds of George bringing home the MVP are slim. Not only is there Russ, but also Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard and a couple of others that I’m forgetting. The confidence, however, is encouraging.
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