Paul George is one of most talked about up-and-comers in the NBA. Many have discussed his rise to stardom, mostly based upon his potential instead of actual production on the court.
Still, the 6'8 shooting guard/small forward has undeniable talent to go along with a certain "wow" factor, both important factors in All-Star Game voting. More than that, George is a hard-working player and has grown to be a fan favorite.
Paul George certainly has gotten the name recognition that he needs to be voted into the All-Star Game, and he will benefit from the Indiana Pacers winning their fair share of games this year.
Still, there are several important improvements that George will have to make this season in order to make his first NBA All-Star Game.
Score more points more efficiently
Paul George has seen a drop in shooting percentage each year after his rookie season. That means a fall from 45.3 percent to 40.7 percent this season. Those numbers were cushioned a little bit last season when George also raised his three-point shooting from 29.7 percent to 38.5 percent, but that number has also dropped this season.
One thing that won't endear a player to his fanbase is high shooting numbers with low percentages. This season, George is shooting 13.5 times per game at only 40.7 percent.
In that time, he has also raised his scoring totals from 7.8 to 14.0 points per game. Still, 14 points per game is not enough for George to make his first All-Star Game.
Last season, the lowest points-per-game average by a guard on the Eastern Conference All-Star team was Rajon Rondo at 11.9. Rondo also averaged 4.9 rebounds and 11.7 assists.
Paul George will need to raise both his shooting percentage and scoring totals in order to make his first All-Star Game. The good news is that both of those could come as George adapts to his new role as a go-to scorer for the Pacers.
Keep up the rebounding totals
Paul George has been most impressive this season in his rebounding, something he has always been ahead of other guards in.
In his rookie season, George averaged 3.7 rebounds per game, a number that was upped to 5.6 per game last season. This year, he has been more impressive than ever. He has averaged 10.5 rebounds per game, including a 17-rebound game against the Sacramento Kings.
While his rebounding numbers will most likely not stay in double digits, they will need to be pretty high in order for George to make an All-Star Game.
George has never been an impressive passer. He averaged 1.1 assists per game his rookie season and only raised that to 2.4 per game last year. While he is up to 3.8 assists per game so far this season, George will need to rely on his rebounding prowess to put together a stat sheet that can compare to other All-Star hopefuls.
Keep the turnovers down
With Georges' new go-to responsibilities, turnovers have been a problem.
So far, George has averaged 4.5 turnovers per game and has not had a game with less than four. Last season, Dwyane Wade had only 2.6 turnovers per game, and Joe Johnson had 1.9 per game.
On his career, George has not had a problem with turnovers, only averaging 1.8 per game last season. That is a good sign, but his role has changed significantly with this season.
Paul George will only be able to make his first All-Star Game this season if he is able to cut down on his turnovers. Of course, as he gets more comfortable with his new role, that will happen naturally, but it must happen soon.
Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be the season that Paul George will make an All-Star Game. He hasn't adjusted well enough to his new role, shooting a poor percentage, not scoring enough and turning the ball over far too often.
Once again, George will continue to improve this year, and the continued absence of Danny Granger will eventually work out in his favor.
So far, George has managed to improve every season he has been in the league, and there is no reason that won't continue. Still, it will take time, and his poor start will have a negative effect on his All-Star votes.
Eventually, Paul George will make an All-Star Game—this season simply won't be it.
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