NBA All-Star voting has ended and the starters have been announced, including Indiana Pacers‘ Paul George who will start in the Eastern Conference frontcourt alongside Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony. George is having a MVP type year — 23.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.8 steals — so seeing him voted in as an All-Star starter shouldn’t come as a surprise.
George’s rise from unknown collegiate athlete to NBA superstar has been an eventful one. He started 19 games his rookie season, became a role player in the starting lineup his sophomore year, stepped up to replace Danny Granger in his third season and is now the Pacers’ franchise player. Along the way, George’s popularity among the NBA fanbase has grown exponentially.
After receiving only 80,060 votes last season — finishing 50th in the Top 50 — George finished with the third most votes, 1,211,318, this year. The Pacers have now had three players in franchise history named as a starter for the All-Star game, Reggie Miller, Jermaine O’Neal — three times – and now George.
The fans voted for the starters, but the reserves will be voted on by the respective conference coaches. Because the Pacers are not only the best Eastern Conference team, but also the best team in the league, it’s likely others will be joining George on the squad. Roy Hibbert finished fourth and David West was 13th in frontcourt voting, while Lance Stephenson jumped to seventh and George Hill finished ninth in the backcourt voting. Indiana, the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors were the only teams to have all five starters in the Top 50 of the All-Star fan votes.
This is only the beginning for George. He’s a bona fide superstar, signed with Indiana for the next four years and should only continue to get better, so fans will get to see him playing in many more All-Star games. George has been to two, needs three more to catch Uncle Reggie, four more to catch O’Neal and in the end he should finish his career as the Pacers’ All-Star leader.