- CLUTCH Summary: Los Angeles Clippers superstar Paul George was having an NBA MVP caliber campaign last season before getting hurt.
- Having moved on from the Oklahoma City Thunder to join Kawhi Leonard with the Clippers, things might get easier for George on both ends of the floor.
- While Leonard is the alpha, Paul George might end up having a season that results in a stunning NBA MVP voyage.
Entering the 2019-2020 season the NBA once again has parity. Nearly half the league feels they have a legitimate chance at winning the title. That same parity exist in the NBA MVP race.
For the first time in a while the MVP can actually be a true indicator as far as who the best player in the league is.
Paul George is among the many superstars who have a good chance at winning MVP next season. Although, George has never been in that best player discussion, an MVP award could quickly change that.
Here are the reasons George could win the award, and what winning the NBA MVP could do for his career.
Coming off NBA MVP Caliber Season
First and foremost, Paul George is a candidate for the MVP for the simple fact that he was a candidate for it just last season. Last season, George finished third in MVP voting behind Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden. There was no shame in placing third. Harden had a historic scoring season, while Antetokounmpo was the best player on the best regular season team.
With a stat line of 28 points per game, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals, George set career highs across the board. Not to mention, being named to both 1st team All-NBA and 1st team all-defensive team.
George is in his prime and his play on the court is ascending. If George can duplicate these numbers, his name will once again be in the middle of MVP discussion.
Trend of New Candidates Winning
One thing that is becoming a clear factor in MVP voting is whether or not the player has won the award before. Harden had better stats last season, than he had in his MVP season and didn’t win the award. Russell Westbrook has averaged a triple double for three straight seasons, and hasn’t gotten MVP votes since winning the award in 2016.
In the last three years, the MVP has gone to a first time recipient. If were looking at it from that standpoint there’s limited competition for the MVP. George, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Kawhi Leonard, and Anthony Davis are the only MVP caliber players who haven’t won the award before.
Nonetheless, if the media, who votes for the MVP award continues on this recent trend, George will have a great shot at capturing the award.
Joining the Los Angeles Clippers
Now that George is on the Clippers, he is for the first time in his career on a championship favorite team. In turn, George must play up to those championship expectations.
In addition, the Clippers essentially gave up their future to get George. Therefore, George must prove he was worth the compensation the Clippers gave up for him.
In joining the Clippers, George is now on a better team, and what many consider as a better fit for him. As mentioned, earlier George had a career year last season with Oklahoma City. He did so along Westbrook who is ball dominant player; unlike his now superstar teammate Kawhi Leonard.
For maybe the first time since his early days on the Pacers, George is comfortable in where he is playing. First, George demanded a trade out of Indiana, and after just two seasons in Oklahoma City he forced his way out again.
Now George is in his desired destination of Los Angeles, on a championship contender. Being comfortable in his surroundings could add to George’s performance on the court.
Kawhi’s Load Management
It is well established that Kawhi Leonard will be participating in load management during the regular season. Leonard even went so far to say after the NBA Finals he wouldn’t have made it through the season without it.
Since Leonard will be missing around 20 plus games during the regular season, this gives George a chance to takeover. George is one of the rare superstars in the NBA who doesn’t take games off during the regular season. When healthy and starting George averages 76 games per regular season.
Because the MVP is a regular season award, during the regular season George will appear as the best player on the projected best team. Typically, that narrative results in an MVP award for that player.
What an MVP would do for Paul George
Instead of listing another reason George can win the MVP, this talking point will explain what a MVP award would do for his legacy. George, although he’s a top 10 player, has never been placed in the top five discussion.
By winning the NBA MVP award he would immediately be placed in that conversation. Also, we must take into account that there’s a great chance the Clippers win the title this season. Therefore, a MVP award and NBA title would cement George’s legacy. That combination of awards would guarantee George a spot in the hall of fame.
Coming off his playoff run, Leonard is seen as the Clippers franchise player. Still, if George were to win the MVP there may have to be some discussion on whether that is true or not.
George has all the makings of an MVP, now all he has to do is put it together on his new team.