Charron Elliott | Analyzed Sports
Why I Think It Will
On the night of June 30, when I saw that the Indiana Pacers had traded four-time All Star forward, Paul George to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Damontas Sabonis, “. I was beside myself! I couldn’t believe that the Thunder, in my eyes, got away with basically armed robbery. Don’t get me wrong Oladipo and Sabonis are both solid rotational players in the NBA and hell even Oladipo, in my opinion, is a solid starter with room for improvement. With that being said, to get PG13 and not have to give up any future draft picks Sam Presti you are the “REAL MVP.” Now the question remains, will George and Thunder starting point guard Russell Westbrook be able to gel on the court together?
Honestly, I think this works for both players, mainly because they will help take the burden off of each other as being the lone star player for their team. Westbrook is the reigning MVP of the league and had a historically good regular season, breaking the triple double record (42) and averaged nearly 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists per game. However, Westbrook also had the highest usage rate ever in league history at 41.8 percent, and the Thunder lost in the first round of the NBA Playoffs 4-1 to the Houston Rockets.
The Cleveland Cavaliers swept Paul George and the Indiana Pacers in the first round of last year’s playoffs. PG averaged nearly 28 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists per game in the Playoffs. Although the Pacers were a couple of possessions away from winning each game, George showed his frustrations and needed more from his teammates.
Numbers Won’t Tell The Real Story; Egos Will
Stats aside, I think this duo could work because when I think of Westbrook, I think of an alpha personality who wants to take over the game period, versus a Paul George, who at Indiana never really had a legitimate co-star like Westbrook had in Kevin Durant before he left for the Warriors. For that reason alone he didn’t trust his teammates to close out games (ask CJ Miles). However, playing alongside someone who is an MVP caliber player in Westbrook, I think PG will respect Westbrook enough to let him close out games when needed. If he does that, then George could play a Scottie Pippen type role (No way am I saying he’s better than Pippen), but he has the all of the attributes Scottie had at the wing/ forward position. He’s an excellent defender, better shooter, and if need be, he can be a go to scorer. For me, this works only if the two managing egos and I think after disappointing first rounds exists the two will be ready to sacrifice to win more games.
Now considering these two just played together for the first time today it will take time for them to gel. I don’t expect OKC to be a great team early in the regular season because the offseason pickup games and practices aren’t the same as the actual NBA regular season. However, it is great that they do have this time now to get to know each other on and off the court. The Thunder will open up the 2017-18 season at home in Chesapeake Energy Arena on Oct. 19 against the New York Knicks.