“I wanna be great, not just an all star, I wanna be a hall of famer, I wanna be remembered”. These are the words of the young 6’9 forward of Indiana Pacers, Paul George. He has become the face of the Pacers in the last two to three years. Winning the Most Improved Player award in the 2012-13 season was just the beginning. The year he received the MIP award, he averaged 17.4 points a game and the succeeding year it jumped to 21.7. Everything was going great and a superstar was in the making when George had to deal with an injury, THE INJURY. It is considered to be one of the worst injuries in the history of the NBA. In a scrimmage of a training camp of the US National team, George landed his leg awkwardly, causing compound fracture of both bones in his lower right leg. The injury was horrific and critics began to question whether he could play ball ever again.
Three years into the league and he faced a devastating injury, just when he was about to start a legacy. His improvement was so good that in the Pacers-Heat conference finals of the 2013-14 season, he led his team against the ‘big three’ to game 7 where the Pacers fell short. But Paul’s performance in the series was nothing short of amazing. In fact, people began comparing him to LeBron.
George was under recovery for almost a season and a few months before the next season started. He went through all that, every day, with a motivation to come back even stronger and prove his doubters wrong. He played the last 6 games of the 2014-15 season just to get a touch of the ball, to feel the pace and averaged 8.8 points through the 6 games span. What many didn’t notice was that it was the silence before the storm. He was actually waiting for the real deal.
Nineteen games into the season and George is averaging 27.6 points a game, 3rd in the league! He’s shooting three pointers like never before with an accuracy of 45.7% from behind the arc. He is 3rd in the MVP ladder making it the best season of his career. He is leading the 12-7 Pacers with very little help as his teammates Roy Hibbert, George West and Lance Stephenson were traded before the season started.
Offensive box +/- is an estimate of points per 100 possessions a player contributes above a league-average player, translated to an average team. George’s offensive box +/- is 7.0 compared to 2.9 in 13-14 season which was considered to be his best career season back then, an increase of +4.1 (source: basetball-reference). He is a two way player being one of the best defensive forwards in the league and making into the All NBA Defensive team twice. With a package of great shooting and spectacular defense, PG has returned and with an ambition to win the championship. The rage of the season he couldn’t play due to injury is coming out now. PG is going to have a historic season for the Pacers and his return will be one of the greatest in the history of the game.