Thunder news: Cris Carter calls Paul George the best two-way player in the NBA
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Cris Carter calls Thunder star Paul George the best two-way player in the NBA

Thunder, Cris Carter, Paul George

During Monday morning’s episode of Fox Sports’ First Things First, former NFL great Cris Carter claimed that Thunder All-Star Paul George has become the best two-way player in the NBA.

Carter, who was one of the best wide receivers the NFL has ever known, feels that George should be named to the All-NBA First-Team right now.

“I’ve just been so mesmerized by how well he plays,” Carter said of George. “He’s the best dual player in the NBA — both sides of the court. We don’t see any other players picking up guys at half court — elite players like (James) Harden. He’s able to guard them. His ability to shoot the three (is impressive), and he clearly knows his role opposite of Russell Westbrook.”

“He’s very excited to keep his career going (in Oklahoma City),” Carter added, referring to George. “If I had an All-NBA team, Paul George is on the First-Team right now. He should be in the conversation.”

All of the points that Carter makes are valid, as George has become a primary option in Oklahoma City. Yes, Westbrook is still lighting up scoreboards, but George has made plenty of noise this season as well.

In 54 appearances with the Thunder (all starts), George has racked up averages of 28.3 points on 45.2 percent shooting from the field (40.8 percent from beyond the arc), 7.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.3 steals in 36.1 minutes per outing.

For the record: George’s 2.3 steals per game are currently tied with Westbrook for first in the NBA.

In his last outing — a 117-112 victory over Harden the Houston Rockets on Saturday night — George scored a whopping 45 points. The former No. 10 overall pick went 12-of-22 from the field, knocking down six of his 14 attempts from downtown. He also made 15 of his 18 free throws attempts to finish just four points shy of his career-high (49 in 2013 with the Indiana Pacers).

“I look forward to playing against the best,” George told ESPN after Saturday’s matchup against the Rockets. “That’s how I was taught the game — just enjoy matchups and have fun with it.”

The Thunder (36-19 and 2nd in the Northwest Division standings) will look to keep their momentum rolling on Monday night, when they’ll serve as hosts to the Portland Trail Blazers (33-22 and 3rd in the Northwest). Tip-off inside Chesapeake Energy Arena is set for 8:00 p.m. ET.