Oklahoma City entered their game against Philadelphia with a (1-5) record over the last six games. History says Philly would be the place for the Thunder to get back to their winning ways as they’ve won 18-straight against the 76ers.
Thanks to Paul George, the Thunder gained a quality win over a team with a (30-16) record and continued the longest active winning streak over a team in the NBA. In the meantime, George continued to prove why he shouldn’t just be a sleeper in the NBA MVP race.
George is heavily slept on because he isn’t flashy, stays rather reserved in his conversation on and off the basketball court and doesn’t boast the stereotypical demeanor of a star in the NBA.
Here are some reasons why he’s more than worthy of MVP consideration.
George averages 26.6 points per game and hasn’t been fully deemed as OKC’s go-to player. When put in the position to be the primary option for OKC, he performs to that expectation. Not to mention, George currently ranks eighth in scoring.
Only James Harden, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Lebron James, and Joel Embiid precedes him in scoring and other than Leonard, no one on that list plays defense at the level George does.
Speaking of defense, that’s what moves the needle the most for his MVP campaign. In today’s NBA, everyone wants to score and the way the league is set up, it’s easier to do so. The modern NBA or better yet, the current culture of basketball doesn’t value defense much and has made things more challenging for defense to be effective.
George defies it all. He’s changed his defensive game to match what the NBA is looking for and has still found a way to make just as big of an impact on that end of the floor as he does on the offensive end. George is a ball-hound. So much so that he’s second in the league in steals with 2.3 per game, behind only his teammate Russell Westbrook. George also ranks ninth in defensive rating at 102.8.
George ranks in the top 10 in scoring, steals and defensive rating. Other than James Harden and Kawhi Leonard in steals, only Giannis Antetokounmpo and George rank anywhere near the top 10 of the defensive categories mentioned in this story. That’s something to recognize. Most other MVP candidates are one-sided.
George may not win MVP this year. James Harden is having a historic run in the scoring department and it shouldn’t go without reward but those that haven’t put George in the MVP conversation clearly fail to pay attention to all aspects of the game.
Other than Kawhi and Giannis, George is the most well-rounded player in the NBA.