The Indiana Pacers finished up a disappointing 2013-14 campaign with another Eastern Conference Finals series loss to the Miami Heat. There were quite a few positives to the season though, a major one being the improvement of star small forward Paul George. George was dubbed the NBA’s rising “superstar” after his strong outing against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, and didn’t disappoint this season.
There were times throughout the course of the year that he slumped and didn’t live up to the expectations, but that is not too surprising for a first year superstar. At just 24 years of age, George has a lot of improvement to make and growing up to do, but he is well on his way. His offense was at a completely new level this season, and he once again had an impressive season on the defensive end of the court.
George played in and started 80 regular season games this season with the Pacers, averaging 21.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. Those numbers show just how important he was the the best team in the Eastern Conference during the regular season. He was able to take a major step forward in his leadership on and off the court, and seemed to mature even more as the season went on.
All that being said, there are quite a few areas that noticeable need work this coming offseason. His ability to create plays for his teammates has to improve dramatically this offseason with defenses beginning to lock down on stopping him. He had moments where he was able to be consistent with his passing, but he still made too many bad passes and careless turnovers with the basketball in his hands.
Another area that could use improvement, is his aggressiveness getting to the basket. George is an excellent three-point shooter, but with his size and athletic ability, he has to find a way to get to the rim more consistently. If he’s able to add an improved inside and post-up game, he is going to become an incredibly difficult offensive threat for any defender to guard.
Overall, the majority of the season for George was an absolute success. He showed that he didn’t allow the money to go to his head for the most part, and improved in a big way over the course of the offseason. If he wants to text the next step and solidify his “superstar” title, he needs to put in the same amount of work and improve in every aspect of his game once again.