Culture of Hoops

Paul George: The Dangerous Game of Power Forward

On October 3rd, the Indiana Pacers officially played their first preseason game. With all the signing and offseason moves, nobody was quite sure what this Indiana team would look like. We got at first look at their fast-paced (but sloppy) offense. Basically, we got to see the rookies against NBA-level talent. And, we got to see Paul George play power forward. He did not seem to like it.

Paul George does not want to play power forward and the Pacers need to recognize this.

After the game, Paul George was quoted as saying “ I don’t know if I’m cut out for a 4 spot”. And he’s not. He doesn’t have the strength nor girth to guard opposing power forwards. He has no business banging around in the post with the likes of Anthony Davis. It’s a terrible idea on the defensive end as well. There is no positive to him guarding the post. He’s not particularly good at it, and he’ll get out-rebounded all season. On the defensive side of the ball, having Paul George play power forward is a awful idea.

However, on the offensive end, having Paul George play power forward is terrific. His quick shooting and strong driving abilities make it near impossible for a true power forward to guard him consistently. He proved that on Saturday when he dropped 18 points in 24 minutes on one of the best post-defenders (the aforementioned Anthony Davis) in the league. Power forwards can’t hang with him on offense, but they sure can bang him around in the post on defense.

At the end out of the day, there are positives and negatives for Paul George playing power forward. The Pacers don’t have many bigs and they sure can use his extra scoring on offense. It also allows them to play a faster style of play. On the other hand, Paul George is coming off an injury. Do you really want your star player fresh off of a broken leg suddenly handling stronger and bigger players night in and night out?

With these reasons, the Pacers’ season could go either way. However, there is one reason that is most important. Paul George DOES NOT want to play power forward. He knows his limitations and how much this could affect his scoring and fatigue. If I’m the Pacers, I’m very careful with how I proceed with this power forward idea. The last thing they want is to turn their franchise player against them.

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