Has Paul George really been a disappointment?
Paul George has had an interesting career, long before he even joined the LA Clippers. And as the Clippers face a 2-0 series hole in their first-round NBA playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, I can’t help but think how he’s in a no-win situation (once again) as he tries to improve his overall legacy.
Dating back to his days with the Indiana Pacers, George has always been a great player. The only issue is that he’s always fallen victim to other great players in the postseason. In Indiana, it was LeBron James that kept him from the NBA Finals.
During his days in Oklahoma City, it was more well-rounded teams in the Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers. Plus, those Thunder teams weren’t exactly on a championship-contender level status that this year’s Clippers are.
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Last season, the Clippers lost to a red-hot Denver Nuggets team and now they’re on the verge of losing to Luka Doncic, who could very well end up being a generational talent when his career is all said and done.
Paul George and his perception which has contaminated his legacy
George has had his shortcomings in the playoffs, but he’s never been on a team that has drastically underwhelmed (with the exception of this year’s Clippers). As George took the blame for the fall last season, and perhaps rightfully so, that’s often the role of the team’s second star – which he is now in LA.
Through two games in this series, George has been quite consistent. In this series, despite the Clippers being down 2-0, George is averaging 25.5 points, nine rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game on 50 percent shooting from the field. He’s had a rough outing from deep, but George is not playing particularly bad.
Nevertheless, he’ll take the fall again this season if they don’t make a deep playoff run. And, therefore, is in a position where he can’t raise his legacy in LA – with the exception of winning a championship. However, considering where the Clippers are, that likely isn’t happening this season.
Kawhi Leonard is an NBA champion and won’t get the brunt of the blame should the Clippers lose in the first round, in embarrassing fashion, to the Mavs. In fact, he also has the opportunity for an out. He’s a free agent after this season and could peace out if he wanted to. And the media would likely see it as, “the Clippers get what they deserve because they didn’t surround Kawhi with the talent he needed to be a true contender.” Even if that’s a false premise.
It’ll be George that gets the blame. And will further hurt his legacy, even if he ends the series by playing at a high level (which he has thus far). That’s where George is in his career, playing next to Kawhi, in LA.
Maybe the issue with George’s legacy perception is that many are expecting him to be LeBron. He’s not that. If you take that context into account when talking about or discussing George’s legacy, is he really a disappointment?