Paul George
Paul George
28-Year-Old ForwardF
Oklahoma City Thunder
2018 Fantasy Outlook
A change of scenery didn't phase George, who remained an All-Star during his first year in OKC following a trade from Indiana. While his scoring decreased by almost two points per game, he managed to set a career high in made threes (244) -- good for second in the league behind James Harden (265). George also managed to swipe the second-most steals (161) in the league, ironically behind Victor Oladipo (177), the main piece sent to Indiana in the trade. There’s not much reason to expect much more from George, who signed a long-term deal with the Thunder over the summer, but it’s possible we'll get it this season. Reports surfaced after the season that George was dealing with knee and elbow issues for most of the campaign, resulting in surgery on both after the playoffs. Combined with Carmelo Anthony being traded, George appears to be in a good position to see more usage and/or play at a higher level in 2018-19. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a four-year, $136.91 million contract with the Thunder in July of 2018.
Pours in game-high 31
FOklahoma City Thunder
December 10, 2018
George scored 31 points (8-10 FG, 5-6 3Pt, 10-12 FT) while adding four steals, three rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes during Monday's 122-113 win over the Jazz.
ANALYSIS
He led all scorers on the night while maintaining his excellent defensive effort -- George has now grabbed multiple steals in 19 of 25 games this season, putting him on pace for a career-high 2.3 per game, in addition to personal bests in scoring (24.3 PPG) and rebounding (7.8 RPG).
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
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At 27 years old, George begins a new chapter in his NBA career this season after being traded to the Thunder in June for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. He heads to Oklahoma City with two years remaining on his current contract, but the second year holds a player option, so it’s possible that he’ll team up with Russell Westbrook for just one season. Speculation on his next destination will run rampant all year long, but as for this current season, it’ll be the first time that he’s had to share the limelight since his initial couple of years in the league playing alongside Danny Granger. In all likelihood, he can realistically reach the same averages he had back in Indiana, but playing alongside Westbrook will have a learning curve, with potentially adverse repercussions for George's usage rate in particular. George has retained a usage rate of at least 28.3 percent over the past four seasons, but Westbrook has led the league in usage rate in two of the past three seasons. Of course, Kevin Durant managed to attain elite Fantasy status while playing alongside Westbrook, so certainly George can retain every bit of his Indiana value with this new venture.
A gruesome leg injury robbed George of nearly the entire 2014-15 campaign, but he returned better than ever last season, averaging a career-best 23.1 points to go with 7.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.6 three-pointers and 1.9 steals in 34.8 minutes per game. While George’s field goal percentage slipped to 41.8 percent, he drilled 37.1 percent of his career-high 7.0 three-point attempts per game. Now more than two full years removed from the aforementioned injury, George, who returned to play for Team USA in the 2016 Summer Olympics, looks to be primed for another productive year as the Pacers transition from Frank Vogel to new coach Nate McMillan. Swapping out George Hill for Jeff Teague and adding Thaddeus Young should help ease George’s offensive burden, as should the continued development of second-year center Myles Turner. Still, George, remains the team’s clear No. 1 option, and last season, he successfully reclaimed his place as one of the league’s best two-way wings. The potential ramifications of the coaching change are certainly something that must be considered, but with the injury seemingly in the past for good, George should be solidified as a justifiable first-round pick in most formats.
After suffering a gruesome leg injury during the summer of 2014, George hopes this season to return to his all-star form. Last year, George spent the majority of the season recovering from surgery to repair compound tibia and fibula fractures in his right leg. He then joined the Pacers for the last six games of their season, immediately proving his worth as the team finished with a 5-1 record. But George was not himself, averaging only 8.8 points, 3.7 boards, and 1.0 assist in 15 minutes per game. That's a far cry from his five-year career averages of 15.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. The star small forward now returns to a much different Pacers team. Plodding, half-court set veterans David West and Roy Hibbert are gone. New arrival and push-the-pace combo guard Monta Ellis joins Paul George as possibly the only other reliable scorer in the starting lineup. The new Pacers will look to play lock-down defense and push the pace for easier buckets. It was only two years ago when George averaged 21.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.9 steals. Assuming he's fully recovered, a return to those averages seems likely. The Pacers will once again heavily rely on this leadership at both ends of the court. Make sure you keep an eye out for George during your next fantasy draft -- a big bounce back year is in order.
George had successful surgery in early August to repair compound tibia and fibula fractures in his right leg. He is expected to be out 12 to 18 months. While the Pacers have not completely ruled out the possibility of George returning near the end of the season, he's effectively out for the season and should not be drafted in standard fantasy leagues. Managers playing in keeper leagues or dynasty formats should only invest in him in the earlier part of drafts if they have injured reserve spots in which to stash George for the season.
A lot of the hype surrounding George this year is based on his impressive postseason, where he went toe-to-toe with LeBron James at times in the Eastern Conference finals. His averages of 19.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.8 three-pointers in 19 playoff games should certainly peak the interest of fantasy owners for what may lie ahead, but he was seeing 41 minutes per game in the playoffs, compared to 38 mpg in the regular season. The excitement for a budding superstar whose best seasons are almost definitely ahead of him is understandable. But for a guy who will get a first-round grade from many experts, it should be noted that he only shot 42 percent from the field last year. That's not bad for a mid-round scorer, but there's a significant gap when considering George versus other studs who will be available at the end of the first round. The good news is that his 2.2 three-pointers per game and 81 percent free-throw shooting last season will help to make up for his lack of efficiency overall on offense - at least to this point in his career. There's no doubt that he has room for growth in points (17.4 ppg), assists (4.1 apg) and blocks (0.6 bpg), but owners who take him should be confident in blanket improvements for George in his fourth season, if they plan to take him with their first pick on draft day.
George grew both as a player and in the literal sense in his sophomore campaign, as his statistics improved across all categories after he grew two inches during the offseason. George finished with averages of 12.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.4 three pointers per game. It was on the defensive end where George really left his mark, as his rangy 6-foot-10 frame created matchup problems for opposing guards, resulting in George collecting 1.6 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. If there is a nit to pick with George, it’s that he noticeably regressed in the postseason. Despite receiving roughly four more minutes of action per game in the playoffs, George provided only 9.7 points per game on a feeble 38.9 percent shooting from the field. Fortunately for George, he’s still just 22 years old, and part of his postseason struggles can be attributed to inexperience. More importantly, George is still bigger than any guard in the league, and should see his rebounds, steals and blocks per game increase with the added minutes he’s expected to receive this season. George’s only real threat for playing time is Gerald Green, a former first-round pick who returned to the NBA last season with the Nets after a three-year layoff. Green may provide more offensive potential than George, but the identity of this Pacers team is rooted in defense, and George is a pivotal part of that mission.
George was used as the team’s starting shooting guard down the stretch and in the playoffs last season, but his role is complicated by the Pacers acquisition of George Hill. Hill’s exact role was not announced before teams were given a hush order at the onset of the lockout. Through 19 games as the team’s starting shooting guard, George averaged 7.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.7 three-pointers, 1.1 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.4 turnovers in 24 minutes. His skill set is similar to Danny Granger’s, leading many to speculate that the Pacers are open to trading their franchise player. Regardless of Granger’s fate with the team, it appears Indiana is committed to using George as a starter on the wing. He should contribute in three-pointers, steals and blocks if given enough minutes this season, making him useful due to his versatility.
George is Indiana’s highest selection in years and will be given a chance to earn minutes right away. He’s an athletic scorer, but loves to shoot from the perimeter, especially the 3-ball. That’s something coach Jim O’Brien won’t discourage, but George tends to fall in love with the outside shot, when he could just as easily outrun defenders to the basket. Shot selection and decision making are the concerns entering his rookie season. The Pacers would be wise to develop George alongside Darren Collison and Danny Granger.
More Fantasy News
Gather four steals in loss Friday
FOklahoma City Thunder
December 8, 2018
George totaled 19 points (6-16 FG, 2-9 3Pt, 5-6 FT), seven assists, five rebounds, and four steals in 36 minutes during Friday's 114-112 loss to the Bulls.
ANALYSIS
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Has best game of season Wednesday
FOklahoma City Thunder
December 5, 2018
George posted 47 points (15-27 FG, 6-13 3Pt, 11-14 FT), 15 rebounds, four assists and one block across 37 minutes in Wednesday's 114-112 win over the Nets.
ANALYSIS
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Grabs seventh double-double
FOklahoma City Thunder
December 4, 2018
George scored 17 points (7-18 FG, 2-8 3Pt, 1-1 FT) while adding 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals in 31 minutes during Monday's 110-83 win over the Pistons.
ANALYSIS
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Steady in Friday's win
FOklahoma City Thunder
November 30, 2018
George finished with 20 points (6-14 FG, 3-8 3Pt, 5-5 FT), five rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 28 minutes during Friday's 124-109 victory over Atlanta.
ANALYSIS
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Contributes 25 points in big win
FOklahoma City Thunder
November 22, 2018
George supplied 25 points (10-23 FG, 4-11 3Pt, 1-3 FT), nine rebounds, five assists and two steals across 35 minutes in the Thunder's 123-95 win over the Warriors on Wednesday.
ANALYSIS
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