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Thunder star Paul George’s case for first Defensive Player of the Year trophy

Paul George

Could this be the year that Paul George finally gets legitimate consideration for the Defensive Player of the Year award?

Kirk Goldsberry of ESPN.com thinks so.

The Oklahoma City Thunder star, who is now in his ninth NBA season, leads the league in steals, deflected balls and loose balls recovered, three key numbers when determining the NBA’s best defender.

Perhaps more importantly, the Thunder are 8.3 points better defensively with George on the floor, allowing just 105.6 points per 100 possessions with him as opposed to 113.9 points per 100 possessions with him on the bench.

That’s a big reason why Oklahoma City is the top-ranked defensive team in the league.

The thing is, though, it is entirely possible that George is not even the best defensive player on his own team, as Steven Adams is a force to be reckoned with on that end of the floor.

A terrific interior defender and rim-deterrent, Adams is also incredible at boxing out opposing bigs and is also quick enough to switch out on to guards on the perimeter, making the Thunder an outstanding team in guarding the pick-and-roll.

Still, as awesome as Adams is, it’s difficult to overlook just how valuable George has been on the defensive end.

The 28-year-old has always been a good defender, but he is never defended at this level. As a matter of fact, there were even times when some questioned just how good he was on that end of the floor during his days with the Indiana Pacers.

It seems like that talk needs to cease now.