INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- Indiana Pacers superstar, Paul George, has gotten off to an incredible all-around statistical pace. Many experts were unsure about the production that George would have this season because of his leg injury, but he has proven to actually be a better player than he was before.
Paul George is currently the only player in the NBA that is averaging over 23 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1.5 steals. George is averaging 23.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.6 steals, and 0.3 blocks on the season. These averages are career highs in points, rebounds, and assists.
George was still getting acclimated to real game speed, which was clear in the first four games. But he has been much improved since the fourth game of the season. George is averaging 30.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 0.3 blocks, and 1.5 steals in the past four games. George has arguably played his best all-around four games of his career.
Paul George would be 1-of-8 players in NBA history to average over 23 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1.5 steals. The following players have previously accomplished this statistical line; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1977-78), Larry Bird (1984-89), Michael Jordan (1988-89), Charles Barkley (1988-89, 1990-91, 1992-93), David Robinson (1993-94), Karl Malone (1993-94, 1995-96), and LeBron James (2012-13).
George made it clear that he wanted to be a part of the '50-40-90 club' this season. That means that he wants to shoot at least 50% from the field, 40% from the perimeter, and 90% from the free throw line. George could reach that mark in each area if he continues to see improvement in his efficiency. However, he is currently not reaching this mark. He is shooting 42.0% from the field, 34.7% from the perimeter, and 86.4% from the free throw line. This is an interesting case since he is still getting used to NBA game action still. He has certainly improved his skills during the off-season, so the results should come soon as he gets acclimated.
These averages are certainly the averages of a league MVP, but the Pacers will need to win a quality amount of games. George has steep competition for the MVP award this season, so he will need as much team success as possible. Stephen Curry, LeBron James, James Harden, Andre Drummond, and Anthony Davis are all in contention along with George, so it will be interesting to see how that pans out.
Paul George and the Pacers could in fact see a good amount of team success this season. They have won 4 of their last 5 games and have appeared significantly better since their first 3-games of the season. Indiana was clearly still getting used to their new offensive system, playing with each other on both sides of the ball, and getting used to the use of speed to cause defensive pressure with their defensive rotations. It didn't help that their star (George) was still getting back into the swing of things offensively.
If the Pacers continue to grow as a team, they should be a playoff team. But that won't be good enough for Paul George to win the MVP award. They would have to be a top three seed. Unless the Pacers really turn on the jets soon, it doesn't appear all that likely, but it's not impossible. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks appear to be set for the top two seeds in the conference. So the Pacers will have to out-perform the Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and the Miami Heat for the third seed. It's hard to say for a 4-4 team that they should be a top three seed, but they have been playing fantastic basketball in their past five games. But regardless of team success, George's individual success should put him in contention for the MVP Award alone.