Paul George remains a young, rising star in the NBA, having turned 23 during the Indiana Pacers playoff run in early May. But after taking a huge leap last season to play at an All-Star level to help lead his team within one game of the NBA Finals, George is spending his offseason preparing to be "the man" for the Pacers.
During a visit to Riley Children's Hospital, PG took a few minutes to chat with the medi,a, as Michael Pointer reports, and revealed his effort to be a leader for the Pacers this season as their number one option. As you can see in the video below, PG expects a lot from himself and is confident he can deliver.
"We didn't know the results that Danny was going to have going into last year, so I kind of had to play into a role that I didn't prepare and train for, so this year it was more about training to be the number one guy and training to lead this team farther this year."
When asked if it was a big adjustment to assume the mentality of the number one guy, PG dismissed it like, well, a number one guy.
"It's not, it's not. You know, it would be a big adjustment for somebody that's not ready for the job, but I'm ready to take on the job. I'm ready to come in as a leader and see where we go from there."
A couple of things, about these comments. First of all, this is classic PG, casually expressing his intentions to raise his game, be a great player (and leader). He has the type of confidence that can lead you to think, slow down big fella. But since his first interview as a rookie, PG has spoke with that type of confidence and then gone out and backed up his words and then some with his actions.
Also, thinking of PG as the main leader of the Pacers at age 23 may be a bit much. I do think he should expect to be the top option and in that way will lead with his play. He will also have the advantage of some strong leadership infrastructure on the Pacers roster to help support him. David West and Danny Granger are veteran leaders that will always command respect from the rest of the roster and George Hill has a strong voice in the locker room befitting the starting point guard.
But for the Pacers to compete for that championship, they need Paul George to lead the way. Not only does PG know this, but he's preparing to do it on the court. When's that first game tip off, again?