Indiana Pacers rookie Paul George continues learning lessons about how to handle his business on the court, off the court and...on Twitter.
Not long after the Pacers' awful effort in a blow-out loss to Philadelphia last Wednesday, George shared a little raw emotion and personal introspection with fans around the world on Twitter.
Too much game bottled in me it's time I unleash it! Eff it I'm playin how I know!
My first thought when I read this was, atta boy, PG, go get 'em.
"It was meant to be taken in a positive way," George said.
But expressing one's emotion in less than 140 characters leaves far too much room for interpretation and as it turns out, both George and myself heard about it so I thought I'd let the rook explain himself with no character limits.
For a little context, let's remember that George has assumed a larger role than expected for the Pacers to start the season. The suspension of Brandon Rush created an opportunity for George to play and then the rook seized that opportunity to secure a spot in the playing rotation with his active feet and hands at the defensive end.
George's offense has sputtered but that defensive effort has secured his time in the playing rotation. But when he has an game like last Friday against Milwaukee it's impossible not to get excited about watching the 20-year old's NBA game blossom in front of our eyes. George shook off a few early misses on Friday, to get it going for a short stretch in the second half. He has no problem snapping off perimeter shots and when those shots are snapping nets, it's a real pleasure.
George has tons of game that he's figuring out how to utilize at the NBA level. He's also learning how to adjust to the NBA game and handle to ups and downs that come with playing multiple games each week.
So it's only natural that George would get frustrated at times, knowing he can do more. In my mind, the rook's best trait is his unflappable confidence. Consider how brutal that loss had to be for the rookie. Easily his worst experience as a pro, yet probably not cracking the top ten for several vets in the Pacers' locker room.
I loved his instant reaction because I'm not sure how many, if any, shared George's sense of urgency to do something about the poor play. Instead of doubts creeping in after the bad loss, he was looking in the mirror, expecting more out of himself.
But then he shared that strong belief in himself with the world.
While the intent was positive, many created an alternate interpretation. Shortly after the tweet, I started getting email expressing worries that George was suddenly a malcontent and could no longer be trusted. Of course, others blamed Jim O'Brien thinking George was already turning on him because of the way he was being coached.
"After a loss like that, I was a little frustrated with the way we played and it was just me saying, I need to be more aggressive and more assertive to help my team out," George explained. "That's what I meant by, I've got a lot of game within myself and I feel like it's bottled up, just meaning that it's time to be more aggressive more assertive."
Since being drafted and moving to Indy this summer, we've come to know George as one that eschews the negative. Always putting in the work, while willingly doing silly stuff off the court with a self-deprecating sense of humor that remains SoCal cool.
Suddenly he's turned negative?
"It was nothing negative, I got word back though," George said. "I got word back from fans thinking I was going to tank it on them or something."
The reaction from fans surprised George and has him re-considering what he shares with the world. George (@king24george) is a must follow for his tweets that share plenty of humor along with trying to fire up fans.
The positive or fun stuff is always great on Twitter, but trying to express some sincere, serious emotion is just asking for misinterpretation and grief.
"It probably wasn't the best thing to do to put it out on Twitter," George admitted. "When the emotions get the best of you, it can get taken the wrong way."
That was certainly the case in this instance. But the rookie continues to impress with his ability to work through his mistakes and improve. Following another frustrating loss on Friday night to Milwaukee, George left the personal declarations to himself and put out a positive tweet to fans.
Don't die on us #PacersNation we're almost over the hump! We believe! Do you?
Consider it another lesson learned for a rookie loving his life in the NBA.