Do I have to wait to watch Paul George play in November before becoming a huge fan?
I'm on vacation with minimal Internet access but have plenty of draft and summer league thoughts backed up so I felt the need to express how much I've enjoyed watching and reading all of George's initial press conference coverage. The guy already adds a spirit to the Pacers that was sorely lacking last year.
His unabashed enthusiasm to work hard and, yes, play for the Indiana Pacersin the NBA should be a nice reminder for some of th too-cool-for-school vets on the Pacers' roster that this is their dream job and they should take advantage of it while it lasts.
I loved how George said he didn't want to sleep so he could soak in every moment of being drafted. Yes, he's young, certainly naive and probably has handlers coaching him on how to ingratiate himself with his new fan base. But propped up fakes are easy to spot and genuine enthusiasm is hard to fake.
George hasn't put up a cocky front like, "I got this." He's just said all the right things about doing whatever he can to help the team. He's at ease in front of the microphone and doesn't delver scripted answers. That allows his personality to shine through and connect with people. He even appears humble and excited when responding to Pacer fans on Twitter. So the sweet shooting stroke and ability fo finish at the rim that George carries around in his 6'8" frame shows up as expected on the court, the #24 jerseys will start showing up in the stands.
No offense to Roy Hibbert's development on the court, but people around here love him just as much for his playful personality. On the flip side, Brandon Rush and Tyler Hansbrough offer very little if anything when interviewed. Their goal with the media always seems to be to finish the interview without saying anything newsworthy. I understand that's just their personality and it has nothing to do with their games. Also, I must say I've seen Rush many times interact with fans before games or at other events and he's fabulous pressing the flesh and grinning for pictures.
But with "King George 24" (might as well go with it) the Pacers appear to have a player they can market around that fans will easily rally around once he shows what he can do on the court.
After the jump, check out part 1 of Paul George's first day on the job.