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Pacers 1st Round Draft Possiblities: Paul George

Now that the NBA Draft Lottery is out of the way, it's time to start profiling the Pacers possibilities for 1st Round picks. The profiles will follow the same format as my 2nd Rounders, with a little bit more detail.

The Pacers received the 10th pick in the Lottery, but several possibilities for trading down and/or acquiring multiple picks have been floating around. For that reason I'm going to examine anyone who might help the Pacers, and then discuss within the profile any steps which might need to be taken to acquire that player.

We have just over a month until the draft, so I'll try to get a profile out every day or two. Here's who we'll be looking at today:

Paul George - SG/SF - 6' 8.75"  214lbs. - Fresno State University


Ten Important Stats - Paul George

Pts/40 Reb/40 Ast/40 Stl/40 Blk/40 eFG% 3PT% FT% FT/40 TO/40
20.2 8.7 3.7 2.7 1.0 51.0% 35.3 90.9 5.5 3.9

Strengths -

  • George's strengths begin with his excellent physical tools. Standing 6' 8.75" with an 6' 11.25" wingspan George has the requisite size for an NBA small forward. If he adds some weight he could even play minutes at power forward, a position he played quite a bit in college. He also has the footspeed and quickness to play spot minutes at shooting guard as well.
  • George has natural scoring ability, and a wide variety of offensive weapons at his disposal. He is a consistent jump shooter with his feet set, as well as coming off screens or off the dribble. George has excellent ball handling ability for a player his size, and gets to the basket with ease. At the rim he is a quick leaper and a terrific finisher. He could do a better job initiating and finishing through contact to draw fouls, but when he did get to the line last season he shot over 90%. In addition to these skills, he spent significant time at power forward his freshman year and seems comfortable playing in the post. His post game is still relatively basic, but with his athletic tools this could develop into a potent weapon as well.
  • George is a capable and willing passer. He can move the ball and find the open man within the flow of an offense. He doesn't have much experience at creating shots for his teammates, and usually looks to score exclusively when he puts the ball on the floor. Like many other parts of his game he certainly has the potential to make significant improvements in this area as well.
  • George has terrific physical tools as a defender. His exceptional length and athleticism give him the potential to effectively defend multiple positions in the NBA. When he plays with intensity and effort, as he has in the pre-draft workouts, he can be an absolute lock-down defender.

Weaknesses -

  • As athletic and versatile as Paul George is, he still has a long way to go in terms of developing the fundamentals to maximize his terrific natural talents. His physical tools won't give him quite as large an advantage in the NBA and he will need to really focus on the details of his game.
  • The offensive system he played in at Fresno State was fairly loose, and offered him the opportunity to freelance and create shots for himself. As he moves to the NBA, there may be a steep learning curve as he learns to work within a smaller role, and play off more talented teammates. He will definitely need to spend some time learning what is a good shot and what isn't for him at this level. The same will be true of his defensive abilities, and he learns the more complicated defensive structures of the NBA.
  • There have been questions about his intensity and effort level at the college level. His natural talents have made the game so easy for him, that he hasn't had to play all out to be effective. While he seems to have a good head on his shoulders, he will need to bring consistent intensity in practice and games in order to make the most of his abilities.

How he can help the Pacers -

  • Paul George's natural position is small forward, the same as Danny Granger. George has stated publicly that he sees himself as a shooting guard, but saying it doesn't necessarily make it true. While he has the ability to contribute at shooting guard or even at power forward in small sets, it will take some skill development before he will be ready to do this consistently. This means that if he joins the team next season there will be limited minutes available for him to work with as he backs up Granger. One nuclear scenario could involve the Pacers trading Granger for a package of players and picks, then selecting George to take over as the starting small forward.
  • The flip side of the coin is that George is among the most talented and highest upside players who will be available at pick #10. The Pacers desperately need shot creators and a general talent upgrade. The team could certainly just take George and sort out minutes, positions and rotations later. In terms of long-term value, not many players in this draft have the star potential of George.
  • George is moving up draft boards quickly. If the Pacers decide they want him, they will most likely need to keep their pick and take him at #10.

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