Paul George: Defensive Player of the Year Next Season?
The NBA offseason has been one for the record books. One of the biggest headlines was Paul George being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. This news came off the hinges of the NBA world finding out that Kawhi Leonard was taking his talents to Los Angeles. As a result, the Clippers now have maybe the deadliest star duo in the league. However, can Paul George take his game to the next level playing alongside the reigning Finals MVP? Can he secure a Defensive Player of the Year next season?
Paul George Has a Strong Chance to Win Defensive Player of the Year Next Season
Paul George’s Defensive Prowess
George is already one of the best two-way players in the league. He made that perfectly clear during his tenure with the Indiana Pacers. Last season, we saw him finish third in the MVP race behind James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Much of that was attributed to his getting it done on the defensive side of the floor as well, considering he was also in the race for Defensive Player of the Year.
Last season, we saw PG-13 average a career-high 2.2 steals per game coupled with a defensive rating of 105. George also possessed a defensive win share total of 4.7 and held a steal percentage of 2.8 percent. Bear in mind, he was often tasked with guarding the opposition’s best player considering some of the best players in this league include his new teammate, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, and other talented wings such as Kevin Durant and Gordon Hayward. He even held Khris Middleton to two points for the entire season when they matched up with each other. Can this type of defensive success translate over to next season on a new squad?
Looking Ahead for Paul George
The short answer to the last question is yes. However, it may take some time. He will have to adjust to a new scheme under head coach Doc Rivers and build chemistry with his new teammates. However, his most talented teammate, the Klaw, is a former Defensive Player of the Year himself.
With this in mind, Leonard will help elevate PG13 to the level he needs to be at to not only win in the playoffs, but also secure his first Defensive Player of the Year award. Any advice from a player like Kawhi Leonard at this point is most likely very valuable anyway. Playing under a defensive-oriented coach in Doc Rivers will also help. Regardless, Paul George will have a very solid chance at winning the Defensive Player of the Year next season with all of this in mind.