This is a breakout year for Indiana Pacers star Paul George. Paul George is a great player and a true tested leader. He is a competitor with the heart of a champion. This is nothing new to the fans in Indianapolis, but now the rest of the world can no longer ignore him. He is sharing one of the biggest stages with the sports biggest star. He can’t go unappreciated or unnoticed and the Indiana Pacers will never be the same. No longer can anyone say that there’s no superstar in Indy. Paul George has emerged to take the ranks with those who led the team before him.
This season was the perfect storm not only for Paul George but for the Indiana Pacers. Danny Granger spent most of this season working on his injury only to opt for season ending surgery in March. Granger only played five games this season and was really only a strong contributor in one of those games. With the absence of the teams leader George knew that the responsibility would fall squarely on his shoulders. He knew that he was going to have to emerge as not only the strongest player on the quart but as the leader in the locker room as well.
Just as the injury of Danny Granger was timely for George, so was last seasons acquisition of David West. With Granger out, the young team was lacking the leader and veteran presence they desperately needed. George was only starting his third season and wasn’t able to step up as a veteran. Had it not been for the presence of West who knows what that kind of pressure would have done to George and to the rest of the teams season. West stood up to help lead the team, but he didn’t take it over. West stepped up along side of George and has filled in the gaps that only experience can fill.
Another timely event this season has been the long expected emergence of Roy Hibbert. Entering his fifth year with the Indiana Pacers, Hibbert needed to show what he was capable of. His size and natural ability had only been able to take him so far. This season the great coaching by the Pacers staff has begun to show through and help elevate Hibbert to a new level. Hibberts ability to guard the paint, score down low and rebound like, well like Paul George has allowed George to spread himself out, grow and show what he is capable of both on defense and offense.
This team and these situations have come about at a perfect time for Paul George. He has shown the NBA world that he is able to lead a team and carry them to the next level. He has superstar potential written all over him. In this series with the Miami Heat he has proven on the big stage that potential has arrived.
This season has seen Paul George in the NBA All Star Game. It has seem the best numbers of his career. It has seen him mature on the court. It has seen the birth of a career of greatness that is yet to come.
Paul George may never be mentioned in the infamous “Who’s the next Michael Jordan?” debate, but for fans of the Indiana Pacers and for fans of the game of basketball he will bring more than enough to be talked about. My generation had Reggie Miller. The young fans today now have Paul George.