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Paul George Is the Perfect Franchise Player for the Indiana Pacers

Paul George of the Indiana Pacers is all smiles after signing a five-year extension on Sept. 25.
Paul George of the Indiana Pacers is all smiles after signing a five-year extension on Sept. 25.Ron Hoskins/Getty Images
Poch de la RosaContributor IIIOctober 2, 2013

Paul George is no Reggie Miller just yet, but he is the perfect franchise player for the Indiana Pacers.

To recap, George signed a five-year mega deal with the Pacers on Sept. 25 with a player option for 2018-19, the final year of his new contract extension.  

Making sure George will stay put in Indiana was anything but easy, as George and his agent, Aaron Mintz, had to strike a deal that both they and the Pacers have to be satisfied with.

Mintz says a clause in the NBA's collective bargaining agreement which allows one player's contract to take up 30 percent of the team's payroll made the negotiation process more daunting, per Michael Pointer of the Indianapolis Star

In the end, George and the Pacers agreed on a deal which would pay him approximately between $80 and $90 million.

By paying him a ton of money, Indiana is taking a gamble on a budding superstar who's only 23 years old.

However, there are several good reasons why George is a legit franchise player for the Indiana Pacers.

 

George Has Superstar Talent 

After seeing Paul George shed his diapers in 2012-13 to become mature beyond his years on the basketball court, who can argue with this?

In fact, the Indiana Pacers haven't had the luxury of having a star who is as versatile and well-rounded as George in a long, long time.

Chuck Person could score in bunches, but he's not a good defender.

Reggie Miller is one of the game's best clutch players of all time who moved without the ball like nobody else could.

However, he's not even close to how tenacious George can be in terms of rebounding and defending.  

On offense, George can drive and dunk in traffic, pull up for the mid-range jump shot and nail the three-pointer.

In terms of his defense, George can pretty much do it allswipe the ball, take the charge or swat an opposing player's shot. His defensive anticipation is also uncanny. It's as if he already sees what the offense will do even before it executes the play. 

He had a bit of trouble guarding a top-notch player like LeBron James in the post, but his defensive prowess is still well above average. 

George, as human as he is, also has weaknesses. He must do something to drastically reduce his turnover numbers (3.9 per game in the 2013 playoffs). 

In any case, if there's any doubt as to what George is capable of, look no further than his three accolades from last season2013 NBA Most Improved Player, 2013 All-Defensive Second Team member and 2013 All-NBA Third Team member. 

On top of these, he was also an All-Star for the first time. 

Expect more superstar-worthy recognitions for Paul George in the years to come. 

 

George Has A Stellar Work Ethic 

A bigger question now looms: Will Paul George regress?

No, he won't.

Mark Montieth of Pacers.com remembers George going scoreless on the road against the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 1. 

Disappointed with his performance, he went straight to the practice gym and hoisted 501 shots at Bankers Life Fieldhouse right after the team plane touched ground in Indianapolis.

George promptly torched the Chicago Bulls for 34 points in the Pacers' Dec. 4 road win at the United Center.

Take it also from Pacers president Larry Bird, who discussed George's work ethic after he signed his long-term deal.

You always hear about players letting up after they achieve the money they always dreamed of. Not this kid; he's the real deal. I don't worry about Paul George. He's an extremely hard worker. He's dedicated to his craft, and he'll be fine. 

With a source as credible as Bird, Pacers fans should take his word for it. 

No amount of talent is worth it if a franchise player does not have the work ethic to match. Luckily for the Indiana Pacers, Paul George has both.  

 

George Is Willing to Stick Around Long-Term

Paul George could have chosen the limelight and all of the attention in his home state of California. After all, he lives in the San Fernando Valley during the offseason. 

He could have played for the Los Angeles Lakers and alongside his boyhood idol, Kobe Bryant.

He also could have given in to the pleas of Lakers fans who tried to influence him in Las Vegas when he took part in USA Basketball's minicamp.  

But he didn't. 

Any 23-year-old NBA player with a weaker resolve might have given in, but not George.

What makes him a perfect fit as the Pacers' new franchise player is his commitment to bring a title to the team and the fact that the city of Indianapolis suits his personality.

Pointer spoke with George a week before his contract extension and made it plain and clear he wants to be in Indianapolis. 

Honestly, I love it here. I want to be here. It's a great place. There are no distractions. I can stay focused. It's all about basketball here. I can stay focused and do my job.

For him to shun the spotlight and focus on the Pacers' title aspirations says a lot about who he is.

 

The Final Word

Paul George shares a light moment with Shaq after Game 2 of the 2013 ECF.
Paul George shares a light moment with Shaq after Game 2 of the 2013 ECF.Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

Paul George has everything the Indiana Pacers could possibly want in a budding superstar.

He has a tremendous amount of talent, an all-around athlete who can do it all on the basketball court. On top of that, he has unquestionable dedication and work ethic.

George is also willing to be a Pacer for a long, long time. 

When he started out as a timid rookie in 2010, Paul George was a diamond in the rough.

Now, he's the Indiana Pacers' glittering franchise player. 

 

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