Clippers: Data shows Paul George more aggressive than ever in opener

Paul George (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Paul George (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Although the LA Clippers couldn’t quite seal the deal in their season opener against the Golden State Warriors, there was something very encouraging about the play of Paul George. Finishing with 29 points on efficient 12-for-23 shooting, his double-double kept the Clippers in it until the final buzzer despite giving up a 52% shooting night.

With Kawhi Leonard out for the foreseeable, Ty Lue is going to need someone like George to fill his increasingly important role for large chunks of the season

Beyond the raw statistics, however, was something even more encouraging about how George played in the first game of the season.

George drove to the basket an average of four times per quarter against Golden State, which resulted in 4-of-8 shooting. Unfortunately, the drives didn’t correlate to free throws, but that’s not something that’s going to last if he remains as aggressive as he was.

The Clippers should be encouraged by Paul George’s aggressiveness.

In looking deeper into the data, the 16 drives George had in that game are substantially more than he’s ever averaged for a season. Here’s how many drives per game he’s averaged over the last five seasons.

2021 – 11.8
2020 – 8.3
2019 – 10.0
2018 – 8.9
2017 – 7.5

George has never averaged more than 11.8 drives in a season, even when he was the primary option in Indiana. George has been able to lean on the fact that he’s an elite scorer and contested shot maker for large portions of his career, but he now faces the prospect of having to also be the primary rim-attacker. So far, he’s done a solid job.

Creating opportunities for himself and others in the paint will be an important factor in how well the Clippers fare as they await the return of their superstar.

The team believes in Paul George’s ability to carry them in Leonard’s absence and with good reason. With how much he dominated in last season’s playoffs when Leonard went down, there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to do so this season.

One thing to remember. George’s 29 points came without any free throw attempts, which is an extremely rare occurrence. Last season, he averaged 3.7 points per game on free throws alone. In the five seasons prior, he was getting five points per game from the charity stripe. getting to the foul line more will make him that much more lethal as a scorer.

Next. Leonard's involvement remains crucial. dark

While Eric Bledsoe will help relieve some of the playmaking duties of George, it’s crucial he keeps up that aggressiveness going forward for the Clippers to win some ball games. If the opening game was any indication, he’s ready to do that.