Today, the league officially named the Indiana Pacers' Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant as recipients of the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month awarded for games played during October and November.
This announcement comes fresh off yesterday's news that Frank Vogel was selected as the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month. With regard to receiving the honor, Paul George told Scott Agness of Pacers.com:
"While this is an individual honor, I share it with my teammates, the coaches and our franchise because we are all in this together."
During the Pacers' games played during October/November, PG led his team to a franchise-best start by going 15-1. While propelling his team to the league's top overall record, the Pacers' star ranked 5th in the league in scoring with 23.6 ppg. Throughout Indiana's first sixteen games, he scored 20-or-more points in thirteen of those contests. Notably, PG's best work was put in during the second halves of the Pacers' games where he averaged 14.8 points while shooting an impressive 51% from the field. While clocking-in as Indiana's top scoring option, employee No. 24 also displayed his skills as a lock-down defender by tying for seventh in the league in steals with 2.13 spg.
In Paul's ‘Kia Awards Nominee' montage video over at NBA.com/awards, the Pacers' games versus the Cleveland Cavaliers (Nov. 2) and Detroit Pistons (Nov. 5), in which he recorded back-to-back doubles-doubles, were highlighted as two of his finest performances of the month. The NBA's nomination video also cited PG's "nerves of steel" that he showcased in the Pacers' victory over the New York Knicks in which he knocked-down three straight free throws to force overtime, and, then subsequently, scored nine of his, then, season-high 35 points in the extra period.
For all of these reasons, Paul George was selected as the Eastern Conference Player of the Month. Other nominees eligible for the Eastern Conference honor were John Wall and reigning MVP, LeBron James. Arguably, all of Paul George's aforementioned credentials (along with his career best game against Portland) provide ample evidence that the Pacers' franchise player should be included in any MVP conversations, and, perhaps, that it is finally time to nix the terms 'budding,' 'young,' or 'developing' when describing Paul George's star power. Nevertheless, one member of the Miami media viewed the awarding of the Eastern Conference Player of the Month award to PG as an early signal of potential voter fatigue in the MVP race:
Paul George, not LeBron James, is named Eastern Conference Player of the Month for November. Which means the MVP race has been joined.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) December 3, 2013
Never discount MVP voter fatigue. There is an opportunity for someone else to grab it this season, even if LeBron's the best player.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) December 4, 2013
What do you think Pacers' fans? Which player was more deserving of Eastern Conference Player of the Month? Will voter fatigue impact the MVP race?
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