Player Review: Paul George's up-and-down Year

Farbod Esnaashari

When Paul George joined the LA Clippers, the NBA world was shocked. It was one thing for the Clippers to add Kawhi Leonard, it was a whole different feeling when they added both Kawhi and George. Not only did LA add the reigning Finals MVP, but they added a top 3 MVP candidate.

Unfortunately for George, he's had a bit of a rough season, marred by injuries. Before the season was postponed, George was finally getting his footing back. He was playing great defense, and averaging 19.8 PPG on 49/40/80 shooting in the month of March. However, his whole season was an up-and-down ride.

Beginnings

Paul George joined the LA Clippers in July 2019, the same exact day as Kawhi Leonard; it was one Woj-Bomb after another. He was coming off of a career year with the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he finished a top 3 MVP candidate. George was having his best year in nearly every single category: points (28.0), steals (2.2), rebounds (8.2), and assists (4.1).

The craziest part about Paul George coming to the Clippers was that no one knew he was available. Throughout all of the nonstop off-season trade rumblings, George's name wasn't mentioned once. Just a year prior, he signed a four-year, $137 million contract with the Thunder, and threw a big celebration. Everyone expected George to be with Oklahoma City for the long haul, but the team consistently lost in the first round. One domino effect lead to another, and the entire team blew up.

George and Kawhi had conversations throughout the off-season, and Kawhi hand picked Paul George to be his partner on the Clippers. When Kawhi Leonard wants someone to be his running mate, Kawhi Leonard gets that running mate. The Clippers ended up trading a monster haul for George: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, five first-round draft picks, and the rights to swap two other first round picks.

Performance

George's debut with the Clippers was a bit delayed. He underwent shoulder surgery during the off-season and missed first eleven games of the season. Due to the injury, he never really got practice time with the team. George's debut with the Clippers was on November 14, 2019, against the New Orleans Pelicans.

From the gate, Paul George went on an offensive tear. In his first two games, he was averaging 35 points on 58/56/100, in 22 minutes. Defensively, George wasn't quite there yet, but offensively he was putting up historic numbers. Unfortunately, due to multiple hamstring injuries, George's number haven't been consistent all season. So much so, that George was willing to admit himself that he wasn't an All-Star this year.

While George is averaging 21 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 3.9 APG on the season, his offensive input has been all over the place. George has had 23 games of 20+ points, 19 games where he scored under 20 points, and four games of scoring under 10 points. 

The biggest concern for George's 2020 season with the LA Clippers is the amount of injuries he's dealt with. Paul has missed 22 games throughout the year from his previous shoulder injury, a hamstring injury, and a re-aggravated hamstring injury.

Grade: B

Outlook

Paul George's 2019-2020 season before the All-Star break was inconsistent. Injuries prevented him from being able to practice, and fully acclimate himself into the plays. He wasn't having a bad year by any stretch of the imagination, he just wasn't playing like a top 3 MVP candidate.

Before the season was postponed, George looked like he was finally returning to a consistent form. While there's no telling how the postponement is going to affect his play, the rest should truly do him some good. If the season does return, George should be ready for the playoffs.

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