LeBron James is lord of all that he surveys. He's the best player on the planet, the reigning MVP, a defending NBA champion and basically the center of the basketball universe for the foreseeable future (sorry Cleveland ::sad trombone sound::).
At 28, he's smack dab in the middle of his prime in terms of clobbering opponents with his insane hardwood skills. His efficiency on both sides of the ball is off the charts. He's faster, bigger and smarter than just about anyone else on the court. And there's still so much more yet to come.
So, naturally, we must ask the question: Who the heck is going to dethrone The King and become next Face Of The NBA?
Kevin Durant? Mayhaps.
Derrick Rose? Could be.
Kyrie Irving? Possible.
Jamal Crawford? Just checking if you're still paying attention.
The first name that pops up is the aforementioned Kevin Durant. Sure, KD is a star, and the natural choice to be the Next Guy. Kind of how like Michael Fassbender should be the next James Bond.
A strong, bold argument for Durant can definitely be made. No doubt.
Sure asking if Paul George can dethrone LeBron James is like asking if Ben Affleck will make a better Batman than Christian Bale. It's a little dubious, there are holes in the argument and it angers nerds everywhere. But it must be done, if not for the sake of good ol' fashioned NBA Debatin'. Besides, it's not like he hasn't made a strong case.
Paul George is awesome. Ok, you want more than an arbitrary word? Fine.
How's this: Paul George was last year's NBA's Most Improved Player, is versatile on both ends of the court, is a great scorer, a profound rebounder and has the length and speed to defend with the best of them. He can kill you by darting to the basket and flushing down a dunk with ferocity, or he can splash down a rainbow J as the smoke from your team's funeral pyre wafts about you. And, he is just 23 years old.
On top of all that, he signed an extension with the Pacers that promises a raise if he can make the All-NBA team again this year. So, you know, INCENTIVES.
The season is still young, but so far George is arguably the league's MVP. And will likely be in the discussion all season long.
On Tuesday, George took all those skill sets, threw them into a blender, added a dash of scrap metal and half a cup of gamma rays, puréed it for two minutes, and then proceeded to completely decimate the Detroit Pistons with a 31 point, 10 rebound performance.
So far this year, George is shooting outside of his mind, averaging 25.8 points a game, with a field goal percentage of 52.9. That's bananas.
He's even been known to be a LeBron Stopper from time to time.
And, as Basketball-Reference shows us, he can handle his thing when up against James.
And then there's his ability to make the big shot in the big moment, which is also part of his overall skill set, but people will call it a "Clutch Gene" because naming things is fun!
Seriously though. When he's on, Paul George is The Terminator returning to the police station.
In last year's Eastern Conference Finals, George demonstrated that, as of right now, he's the only man on the planet that can come closest to out-Lebroning LeBron. The quick first step, the ease of play, and the dynamic ability to launch skyward, draw the foul and flush it down. The full Package.
The big question in all this is, can Paul George mentally hurdle LeBron James?
Again, as we saw in the ECF, George can keep up with LeBron.
Until, that is, LeBron decides that it's enough already and goes into Global Thermonuclear War Mode.
As long as he remains healthy, it's unlikely LeBron James will be overshadowed by George. But at just 23 years of age, there's still time to climb the mountain and reach for the stars.
And when he finally gets there, and LeBron is past his prime, and ready to hand over the crown, George will have to contend with this guy:
But that's a discussion for another time.
Enjoy Superman vs. Batman, everybody!