Boom Roundtable: What’s Paul George’s Ceiling?
In a segment we’re calling the Boom Roundtable, Pacers fans will
call eachother names discuss a variety of topics like adults. This week, we try to find Paul George’s best comparison and determine just how high his ceiling really is.
Casey (Indianapolis): I was watching Orlando-era T Mac highlights on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_NVw9G5t0Y) and two things occurred to me:
- How effortless of a scorer T Mac was. He won the 2003 scoring title at 32.1 ppg. In his prime, it wasn’t even fair.
- How much he looks like Paul George. Both lanky wing players, they dribble, pull up, and attack the rim in eerily similar ways.
Unfortunately, T Mac couldn’t shake the injury bug in Houston and his career was essentially over despite stops in New York, Detroit, Atlanta, and San Antonio.
Hoping that Paul George doesn’t suffer the same fate, just how good can PG be? Is he a perennial All Star like Paul Pierce? Is he a lock down defender and Top 50 Player of All Time like Scottie Pippen? Or is he simply Joe Johnson / Tracy McGrady 2.0?
Jason (Indianapolis): I like the Scottie Pippen comparison depending on your definition of Scottie. If you mean premier wing defender and good 3 point shooter than absolutely. But Paul’s asked to be the man on the Pacers, where as Scottie got to ride shotgun with the Greatest of All Time.
Tom (New York City): Tough to really gauge him. I’d have to say his offense is T Mac-esque, but maybe not as smooth or refined yet. I’m also not sure that PG can carry a team’s offense for a whole season. T Mac was the man in Orlando. Maybe Paul can get there, but he’s not there yet.
The Pippen comparison on D is scary good though. Same build, length, and tenacity.
Alex (Indianapolis): I hate to say it. But PG reminds me most of a young Dwyane ”Mommy Misspelled My First Name” Wade. They have very different body types, but they’re both stat-stuffers who make a difference in all areas of the game. Not just scoring, but the rebounding, steals, and assists make them very comparable.
The thing that sets them apart most: PG isn’t a flopper *ahem*.
Andy (Indianapolis): Career rate stats per 36 mins:
- Paul George - 6’8”, 210 lbs - 15.8 pts, 7.0 reb, 3.2 ast, 1.8 st (per 36 min)
- Tracy McGrady- 6’8”, 210 lbs - 21.6 pts, 6.2 reb, 4.9 ast, 1.3 st (per 36 min)
This is a poor comparison as George just began his 4th season in the league and McGrady’s career stats span 15 years. A better comparison would be show how each did in their 3rd season (Paul’s most recent full season played. Third Year in League Rate Stats:
- Paul George (2012/13 Season) , 22 years old - 16.7 pts, 7.3 reb, 4.0 ast, 1.7 st (per 36 min)
- Tracy McGrady (1999/2000 Season), 20 years old - 17.7 pts, 7.3 reb, 3.8 ast, 1.3 st (per 36 min)
Really close here. McGrady was only 20 years old, scored a little bit more, rebounded the same, and actually averaged an impressive 2.2 blocks per 36 min. The 99/00 Raptors decided they needed more from McGrady and upped his mpg to 31.2 that year, but as a team the Raptors still relied on his cousin, Vince Carter, to be the primary scorer. McGrady excelled as defenses contended with Carter.
Paul George, on the other hand, was asked by the 12/13 Pacers to be the main guy as Danny Granger’s injury kept him out most of the season. David West, PG, and Roy Hibbert were all asked to pick up the slack. While West and Hibbert both grew, it was George who really shined. George ended the season at 37.6 mpg while most often defending the opposing team’s best offensive player AND receiving the attention of the opposing team’s best defensive player (Ex: George vs. Lebron on both ends of the court in the ECF.)
Here’s something interesting to note: Look at McGrady’s 4th season and George’s start to this season (again, per 36 min.)
- Paul George (2013/14 Season) 8 games - 24.5 pts, 7.6 reb, 3.6 ast, 1.4 st (per 36 min.)
- Tracy McGrady (2000/2001 Season) 82 games - 24.1 pts, 6.8 reb, 4.1 ast, 1.4 st (per 36 min.)
Both players year 4 stats are MUCH improved. McGrady left Toronto in the summer of 2000 and signed a big contract to be The Guy in Orlando. His stats can be explained as a great, young player on a mediocre team who gets every shot and minute he wants, while George’s impressive numbers this year indicate a future superstar on a great team that emphasizes defense first. Oh, and they’re a perfect 8-0 so far.
Eight games does not make a season, but so far George with his defensive skills and much upgraded offense is probably a better player than McGrady at the same stage of his career. McGrady in his prime (2003) was amazing as he often had to carry his entire team. George will probably never have the same gaudy career counting stats, but will excel in advanced stats like production rate, defensive considerations, and team role.