5 Reasons Pacers' Paul George Is NBA's Most Underrated Player

Nick Lantz@nickLantz10Correspondent IIFebruary 18, 2013

5 Reasons Pacers' Paul George Is NBA's Most Underrated Player

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    Indiana Pacers swingman Paul George is the most underrated player in the NBA.

    He is one of the league's rising stars and is having a very strong 2013 campaign. George earned a spot on the Eastern Conference team, scoring 17 points in his first NBA All-Star Game on Sunday.

    In the Pacers' last game before the All-Star break, George put together a triple-double of 23 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in a 101-77 thrashing of the Charlotte Bobcats.

    He can contribute in so many different ways for Indiana.

    George has not been praised enough for his success and remains under the radar. Only 22 years of age, he will only continue to become an even better basketball player for Indiana.

    Here are some factors that make this underrated phenom a GM's dream-come-true.

Explosive Scorer

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    With Danny Granger missing the first half of the season for the Indiana Pacers, Paul George has been the go-to scorer.

    At the break, George is averaging 17.6 points per game, the most on the team.

    He has also taken the most shots of any Pacers player so far. George has been able to score in a number of different ways.

    He has the explosiveness to drive and throw down a breath-taking dunk. Also, George can shoot from behind the arc, as well as manage a solid mid-range game.

    This season he is shooting over 42 percent from the floor. February has been a good month for George, as he is averaging over 19 points per game this month.

    Another thing that he does well is getting to the charity stripe, and hitting his foul shots. He is hitting just under 82 percent of his attempts.

    George has been a savior for the Pacers' offense with Granger out.

Strong Outside Shooter

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    George is the most reliable outside shooter that the Pacers have.

    Thus far he is shooting 38.6 percent from three-point territory, the best among the team's everyday players.

    He has also made and taken the most three-pointers (115-298) for Indiana this season.

    As well as being a member of the Eastern Conference All-Star team, George partook in the 2013 Three-Point Contest.

    Earlier in the season, he put on a shooting clinic in the Pacers' 115-107 overtime win against the New Orleans Hornets.

    He scored a career-high 37 points and did most of his damage from outside. George knocked down nine of his 13 three-point shots, setting the Pacers' franchise record for three-pointers made in a game.

    George can light it up at times from deep, and he can stretch the floor for Indiana.

Solid Defender

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    What may be the strongest feature of Paul George's game is his ability to force turnovers.

    George is one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the league today.

    The young and quick guard/forward can cause trouble for opposing offenses. He is No. 9 in the league in steals with 93 on the season.

    His 1.8 steals-per-game average is also by far the highest on the team.

    George can effectively stick with and antagonize the guards and forwards that he matches up against.

    Coming out of Fresno State, George was a strong defender, one of the best in the country.

    As a sophomore he averaged 2.2 steals and around one block per game, before leaving early for the NBA draft.

    As he continues to develop into a star, George could soon become a regular on the NBA All-Defensive team.

Impressive Rebounder, Good Passer

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    Paul George has drastically improved his rebounding over his three seasons in the NBA.

    He is No. 2 on the team in rebounding, bringing down a career-high 7.8 boards per game, just behind center Roy Hibbert.

    This season, he is rebounding better than he has ever before, dating back to his time with the Fresno State Bulldogs. His previous best was 7.2 as a sophomore in college.

    Along with rebounding, George has been effective in the passing game as well. He is No. 2 on the team in assists, dishing out four a game, also a career high.

    George has improved in many ways in his third season with the Pacers, which is a big reason why he is an All-Star in 2013.

Major Factor to Pacers' Success

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    Paul George is the biggest reason why the Pacers are an impressive 32-21 at the break.

    The Pacers are sitting in third place in the Eastern Conference, and first in the Central Division.

    George has played and started in all but one of the Pacers' games, averaging nearly 38 minutes per contest.

    He leads the Pacers in points, three-pointers, steals and minutes.

    Furthermore he is second on the team in field goals made, fouls shots made, rebounds and assists.

    In the Pacers' wins, George has played very well, averaging over 19 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists while making over 45 percent of his shots.

    Paul George is an all-around great basketball player. He is exactly what coaches love: Someone who plays equally as hard on defense as he does offense. He can defend, shoot and rebound exceptionally well.