Indiana Pacers superstar Paul George has already embraced his role as the face of the team. That isn’t enough however, as the 26 year-old forward is pursuing his goal of being the 2016-17 NBA MVP.
The Indiana Pacers are in good hands for the foreseeable future with Paul George being the cornerstone of the team through the 2018 season — when his contract is up.
Prior to the 2014-15 season, George suffered a compound fracture to his right leg during a Team USA basketball scrimmage. He missed all but the last six games that year due to the injury.
Coming off of such a devastating injury, many experts and analysts predicted that George would never return to his old form — some even going as far to say that his basketball career was over.
Heading into the 2015-16 season, George was set to prove his doubters wrong, and that he just did. Through 81 games, he averaged 23.1 points, 7 rebounds and 4.1 assists as he lead the Pacers to the Eastern Conference’s seventh seed — falling in seven games to the Toronto Raptors.
In the playoffs, George posted MVP-like numbers. Through seven games, he averaged 27.3 points, on 45-percent shooting from the field, including 41-percent from the three-point line. His points average was just second to Kevin Durant.
In an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio, George made it clear that his goal this year was to win the league MVP award.
"“I want to be MVP,” George said. “I definitely want to be MVP this year. It’s tough, as always. It would be a challenge. But with coach Nate (McMillan) and the guys that I got here, I’m in position to move into that spot.“As long as I remain being me, being a leader, being aggressive and wanting that. It’s not mine for the taking. I got to go get it. And this is my year to go get it.”"
This past offseason, the Pacers have acquired Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young and Al Jefferson to name a few key moves. If George can play at a high level for the entirety of the season, there may be little doubt as to whether or not the award for the league’s most valuable player is within his reach.
On paper, the Pacers look to be on the rise this coming season. With a vastly improved roster from last season’s playoff team, don’t be surprised to see the Pacers battling out for a top-four seed in the East.
The Pacers kick off their series of exhibition games Tuesday, Oct. 4th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
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