Paul George was once just a solid player, but has now grown into one of the better players in the NBA. What was the main change in his game? Was it his efforts in the gym, efforts on the court, or the experience he picked up from playing in the conference finals last season that really changed him as a player? Well sure, that stuff helped, but the real game-changer for is that he is now playing with confidence.
George has always taken advantage of his size, taking smaller opponents to the basket. But now, he pulls up for heavily-contested jump shots every game, even multiple times a game, and hits them most of the time. Also, his 3-point shot is noticeably stronger, all a result of confidence. Every time he may pull up for a shot, he thinks ‘I’m going to hit this shot’, and does. The best of the best play with confidence, and taking that leap in his game is huge.
Of course, George is still the defensive player he was last year, and is arguably even better. His concentration on the ball and ability to make a move on a pass or shot can result in a block or steal, resulting in a windmill dunk on the other end like we saw a few games ago.
George also is getting to the line more. His free throw attempts per game have definitely increased, which is another thing that the best players in the league do: get to the foul line. George seems have figured out how to get foul calls; he may not get the calls all the time, but he is obviously getting to the line more for a reason.
The only flaw in looking for fouls is that he sometimes looks at the ref or says something, which means he gets back to the other end slower. By the time he gets back, he’ll stay angry for not getting the foul called, and will play really tight D and end up getting a foul called on himself. That’s just a part of George’s game that he needs to mature in, because complaining to the ref will only get a technical called on himself or a score on the other end.
Paul George playing with confidence can be scary for his opponents, and that’s understandable after how he’s performed so far this season. George can only get better, and it’s exciting to see him grow into the next superstar of the NBA.