Two-way players are a rarity in the NBA. Well, anyone who plays defense consistently is considered a rarity, but when a two-way player comes along in Free Agency, they generally aren’t around for long. It’s why Kawhi Leonard is so coveted, a wing player that can guard 1-4 and score at will is a rare commodity. While Kawhi is regarded as the top two-way player there are questions as to how he would adjust in certain systems, especially those in which he needs to operate off-ball.
These questions don’t exist with Paul George.
George is practically a chameleon, he is an excellent perimeter defender, a solid passer, and a great spot-up shooter. Almost half of his points last year came off the catch and shoot, which is crazy because averaged over 20pts per game. He has proven that he doesn’t need the ball to be effective and this was evident in his play in OKC last year. While this past season was disappointing, George was still an All-Star and meshing with Russell Westbrook is no easy task. He accepted his role as the second option and even when overshadowed by Westbrooks hero ball, George was really effective. Could he be a number one option? Yes, this was evident in the Pacers success during his stint there, but I believe that George is best suited as the second option.
Which is why he fits everywhere. All eyes will be on LeBron but it shouldn’t lessen the importance of George’s free agency prospects. If he were to go to Philly, he’d be an instant upgrade over Robert Covington and would help give the Sixers a consistent presence which could get them over the top. Imagine him on the Rockets, playing alongside CP3 and Harden, he would get a ton of open-looks and it could lead to his most efficient year yet. George could follow LeBron to LA and with that young and talented roster could lead the Lakers back to prominence. Whatever George does in free agency will be overshadowed, but his impact on that franchise shouldn’t be discounted.
The OK3 was a failure, but it wasn’t because of George. While he disappeared for stretches in the playoffs, it’s difficult to get into a rhythm when Westbrook is putting the Thunder into precarious positions. If George were to return it would be primarily due to his relationship with Westbrook and while he’ll be successful, there are far better options for his free agency. He is a step below Leonard, but two-way players are coveted and he will have a number of suitors believing him to be the missing piece. George will play a key role in the offseason for a number of teams around the league, there is no doubt that he will instantly upgrade a roster and could act as a key factor in a championship run.
Don’t sleep on Paul George.