Paul George: ‘I’m going for it. I’m going for that hardware’

Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images
Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images /

Paul George has big hopes for this season. He is going for the MVP award. That would put him in an elite category with the other players that have elevated their game for one season to be the league’s Most Valuable Player.

Paul George is looking to follow in Russell Westbrook‘s footsteps to be an Oklahoma City Thunder player with an MVP award. George is going to be a free agent next year in 2018. If George sees that his play has elevated by playing alongside Westbrook, that may convince him to stay. The Thunder are looking to be in the conversation as the top teams in the league this year.

According to NBA TV George said: “I’m going for it. Going for that hardware.”

Paul George has been through a lot of trials and tribulations these past years, from the gruesome leg injury during a USA Blue and White game to the past playoffs when he was heavily criticized for not taking the last shot in a Game 1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

George most likely has the state of mind that it is time to put the past behind him and now since he is on a new team, he can start fresh. He is hoping to have a Kevin Durant-like season where he goes to a new team and after facing heavy scrutiny, he pulls off the best season of his career to prove his doubters wrong.

George is not facing anything the greatest players in NBA history haven’t faced. Michael Jordan faced adversity time and time again. Jordan was criticized for not being able to win a championship and he went on to win six. Even Russell Westbrook faced scrutiny when people were saying that he shot too much. Westbrook was able to prove doubters wrong when he had the highest usage rate with 41.7 in NBA history and won the MVP award.

Paul George was able to win the Most Improved Player of the Year award in 2012-13. That was his third year in the league after he averaged 7.8 points per game his rookie year and 12.1 per game his sophomore year. He still has more to prove though to himself and people. Winning an NBA championship and being the MVP are in his sights.

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This year George is trying to be the next feel-good story. The talent has always been there for George but he has not been able to have one season where he scored over 25 points a game. To win this MVP award he will have to go out there every night and put up a consistent performance. He will have to be able to make the Thunder one of the best teams in the league. He can do this by combining his athleticism with his talent.

This means with his skills to play defense and how he can defend in terms of face-guarding and getting in the passing lanes to be a pest to the opposing team, he can create offense for himself with his defense. George has been on an NBA All-Defensive Team three times so he can help defensive stud Andre Roberson on that end.

If he can show the Thunder have improved with him on the team with his ability to shoot the three and score in general, then he will have a case for the MVP award. The Thunder were the worst team last year in terms of 3-point percentage and at times when Westbrook was not on the court it was hard for the team to generate offense.

Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images
Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images /

George almost shot 50 percent from the field last year at 46.1 percent. George also shot 39.3 percent from deep. If George can improve on those respectable percentages, then that will help his case for the MVP award.

The Thunder should be able to benefit from having a hungry George on the team. He wants the MVP trophy and that mindset will help the other players see that he means business. His talent and mentality will help him fit in on the court with his other Thunder players.

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Having Westbrook who has that Jordan-like mentality, the other players will be used to having a person that plays with a chip on his shoulder all the time. With Paul George’s reputation of being a star (he is a four-time All Star) and with the mentality of wanting to be the league MVP after he just got on the Thunder, he may be able to accomplish this goal he has set for himself.