What do the LA Clippers need from Paul George in the playoffs?

Paul George, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Hui-USA TODAY Sports
Paul George, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Hui-USA TODAY Sports /

Throughout the last few years, franchise superstar Paul George has had the fan-base on their heels during the regular season. Many even have a small sense of dread for postseason basketball and the disappointments it could possibly produce. After two underwhelming runs since 2019, the time is now for the Clippers to make an appearance in the NBA Finals.

Furthermore, the 2023 playoffs should be seen as another chance; one for redemption and the potential of overcoming obstacles that have seemed insurmountable. Yet, George’s performances are where much of these hopes lie.

Following a blockbuster trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Clippers’ title hopes seemed, on paper, as close as they had ever been. As we approach the end of the 2023 regular season and the beginning of the first round, eyes fall upon George and his ability to excel on both ends of the court.

Paul George is in a position to succeed for the LA Clippers.

So far this season, George has been fairly efficient on the offensive end as the number two option for the LA Clippers. Most of his possessions are as the pick and roll ball handler, and he has proven to be very effective within this role. Additionally, he has been very good on his spot up jumpers, scoring 1.242 points per possession and lying in the 91st percentile in that category.

Still, despite his high level production, flashbacks of the 2020 playoffs remain in the heads of many Clipper fans. They are haunted by the multiple ten-point performances against Denver as the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead in an embarrassing fashion.

George admittedly pulled himself together in the 2021 playoffs, having efficient scoring performances almost every night. His dominance allowed the Clippers to go toe-to-toe with the Phoenix Suns, the eventual Western Conference champions. This is the version George fans hope to witness as the 2023 playoffs turn the corner.

Although Leonard is the top dog on the Clippers, his medical resume raises concern, ultimately placing George in a position to challenge himself on a nightly basis. Not to mention he will be required to make plays for his teammates at a high volume. However, this should not be a problem as he is averaging 5.2 assists this season. In addition, he will receive more than enough help from one of the deepest rosters in all of basketball.

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Moreover, the Clippers have had tough stretches this season, especially after the all-star break. As the new additions are still finding their place in the rotation, the lineups may seem disjointed at times. Nonetheless, there is not much time for this team to come together, and George will have to thrive as a leader on and off the court. The sky is the limit for the current roster, but if George is not at his best, another disappointing playoff run could be underway.