Watching Paul George play, if you're a Pacers fan, is excruciatingly frustrating. You see, George often mistakes himself for Lebron James. When he does so he starts to delve into 1-on-1 isolation plays on offense, but when guarded by James, and already being just an average shooter, George will take many mid-range jump-shots that clank off the rim and into the hands of an obliged and waiting Heat player.
One day, George may be near the level James is at offensively. He may get there...one day. But it is not his time yet. He is just a young 24-years old, still not fully equipped with the skill and stamina it takes to guard the best player in the world almost every possession, and carry the bulk of the offensive burden.
We could say, George is just a younger Rudy Gay. But that would not be accurate. Rudy Gay was an inefficient shooter, just like George currently is. But, Rudy was also always known (and rightfully so) for being an inexplicably bad defender. That is not the case with George, one of the best defenders in today's game, despite his youth.
Rather, George is more of a rich man's Kawhi Leonard. They are both lockdown defenders, and are both inconsistent, though good, shooters. The most frustrating thing with George though, is not all the Rudy Gay type isolation monstrosities he shoots.
No, it is that George will occasionally and randomly rip off a Lebron-esque hot-streak where he simply cannot miss a shot. We saw one of those random outbursts in Game 5 against Miami, when he scored 21 of his 37 points in the 4th quarter. That's the most points in the 4th quarter of a playoff game since a guy named Reggie Miller. You know, that guy that is one of the 10 greatest NBA players of All-Time?
We saw a hot-streak from George similar to the one in Game 5 against the Heat (though not as spectacular), in Game 4 against the Wizards during Round Two of this year's playoffs. When George caught fire and started hitting those jump-shots that he normally misses, you just knew there was no way Indiana was losing that game.
The challenge for George as his promising career continues to unfold dramatically, is if he can sustain those runs of excellence, and if he can exude them consistently. Because if he improves his offensive game, the sky is the limit.