Paul George feels he’s playing the best basketball of his career
The numbers don’t lie — Paul George is playing the best basketball of his career and his stat line of 24.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.2 steals — all career-highs, reflect just that. Yet the Oklahoma City Thunder swingman feels it’s more than the numbers and having a second year under his wing with this core group, confident he’s playing as well as he’s ever had.
“I do, I do,” George said when asked if he thinks this is the best he has ever played, according to ESPN’s Royce Young. “I think just the experience and not having to shoulder everything offensively, it’s definitely helped as well.
“But I do feel I’ve grown, and just been seasoned, just knowing how to attack, how to play off certain defenses. And just a different mentality.”
Head coach Billy Donovan made it a point to study George’s game and put him in the best possible situations on the court, but it was all work for naught, as George thrives in the intrinsically delicate nature of letting it all happen organically, a trait a few select elite scorers have developed over the years.
“I’ve always been a guy to just let the game come to me. Just play the game,” George said. “If it’s a shot for me, if I can make a play, create for someone else, I’ll do that. A lot of times you run a play, everybody’s watching, everybody’s locked in, everybody’s pulling over and it just makes the game tougher for me.
“I like it when I can kind of manipulate and be on attack mode where they don’t know what to do, as opposed to a play other teams [can] scout.”
Besides putting personal career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, and steals, George is also putting up the most shot attempts of his career and teeing up the most threes as well, even more than he did with the Indiana Pacers as the lone star of the team — a reflection of his newfound comfort playing next to co-star Russell Westbrook and letting the reins loose under coach Donovan.