Paul George Says He's Best NBA Wing Defender, Calls Kevin Durant Toughest Cover

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistOctober 24, 2013

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 3:  Paul George #24 of the Indiana Pacers defends LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on June 3, 2013 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

If you ask Paul George, Paul George is the best wing defender in the NBA right now. 

Seriously, it's true.

ESPN actually asked him during a SportsCenter conversation, and the burgeoning star of the Indiana Pacers responded with his own name without any semblance of hesitation. And it wasn't a Jaqen H'ghar moment in which he immediately wanted to be unnamed once he heard it said out loud. 

George isn't that far off from the truth. 

I'd hesitate to call him the premier wing defender in professional basketball, but he's certainly asserted himself as one of the true elites. It's just that Tony Allen, Andre Iguodala, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler and Avery Bradley might have something to say about his self-proclaimed title. 

According to Synergy Sports (subscription required), George allowed 0.82 points per possession during the 2012-13 campaign, good for the No. 87 spot in the league. Sure, he finished first against roll men, but he struggled at times in isolation and when being posted up. 

Those individual numbers obviously don't tell the whole story, but George might not be quite as elite as he thinks.

B/R's Daniel O'Brien kept it a little bit more real when he predicted each of the major NBA awards, handing Defensive Player of the Year to LeBron James and not even giving the Indiana swingman an honorable mention. 

However, George had more to say than this self-proclamation. 

Apr 6, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) drives to the basket against Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeated Oklahoma City 103-98.  Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-U
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

He also called Kevin Durant the toughest cover in the league, all thanks to his scoring mentality, length and quick first step. It's an understandable reaction—one shared by many players. It's partially backed up by the numbers. 

As shown by Basketball-Reference, Durant has averaged 31.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game on 53 percent shooting during his four career matchups with George. Great numbers, sure, but they actually fall short of what LeBron has done to George—both in the regular season and the postseason. 

During the 2013-14 campaign, George should be right in the thick of the discussion revolving around the best wing defenders in the NBA. Each time he goes up against a superstar like Durant or LeBron, it's going to become must-watch television. 

Isn't that always the case when an immovable object goes up against an unstoppable entity? 

Even with only three years under his belt, George already qualifies as the former.