Paul George might be a lot of things, but I’ll tell you one thing he isn’t—and that’s a leader.
Leaders not only inspire their teammates, but hold themselves accountable for their shortcomings. In the process, they earn the respect of their peers, elevate the play of the players around them, and provide value that doesn’t always show up in box scores.
LeBron James is a leader. Chris Paul is a leader. Kobe was a leader. Paul George?
In the immediate aftermath of the
Los Angeles Temecula Clippers shitting the bed in the playoffs, instead of apologizing to the universe for playing like hot ass, reportedly this happened, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
“Paul George had a disappointing series against Denver, and had several moments that left him in compromising positions with his teammates—beyond just his production. Multiple teammates had verbal spats with George throughout the postseason, citing in their exchanges a lack of accountability from him.
In the postgame locker room Tuesday night, George was preaching to teammates to remain committed, for all the players to return to the team this offseason and stay ready to make another run. It was met by some eye rolls and bewilderment, sources said, because George did not back up his words with action in the series and the team has multiple free agents with decisions to make.”
Does this sound like a leader to you?
What also doesn’t bode well for his standing within the organization is the fact that his teammates dragged him in their exit interviews. When healthy, the six-time All-Star is absolutely a top-15 player in the league. But as Andre 3K once infamously rapped, “Baby boy, you only funky as your last cut, you focus on the past, your ass’ll be a ‘has-what.’”
During George’s final season in Oklahoma City, he put up 28 points, eight boards, and four assists a game. You can say whatever the hell you want to your coaches, teammates, baby mothers, and the media when you’re winning and putting up video game numbers. But his first season in
Los Angeles Temecula fell well short of that for a myriad of reasons (health, chemistry issues, etc.), so thinking he still carried that same clout on an entirely new team with an entirely different roster while hurling up brick after brick after brick when the team needed you to step the fuck up during the playoffs ain’t gon’ work, bruh.
Further cementing his status as the worst leader since Donald John Trump are George’s comments during an upcoming episode of Showtime’s All the Smoke podcast, hosted by retired NBA vets Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson.
Here’s what he had to say about Doc Rivers, who has since moved on to greener pastures:
“The way I was being used, I felt Doc was trying to play me as like a Ray Allen or like a JJ Redick, all pin-downs. I can do it, but that ain’t my game. I need some flow, I need some mixes of pick-and-rolls, I need some post-ups, just different touches, you know what I mean? That last season was just hard overall.”
I’ll let Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports debunk this bullshit:
George had fewer catch-and-shoot attempts per game last season than he did during his breakout 2018-19 campaign in Oklahoma City. He also had the exact same number of post-ups per game and more possessions as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, according to NBA.com. George did have significantly fewer isolations last season, however, and performed worse in those situations, going from 0.92 points per possession in 2018-19 to 0.75 with the Clippers.
Translation: PG-13 is full of shit.
He also said this about his former head coach:
“We went up 3-1. We felt like we’re gonna win the next one. We lost. We’re like, ‘Cool, we up 3-2, we gonna win the next one.’ We lost. But during that whole process, we never worked on adjustments. We never worked on what to do differently. We were just literally having the same shit happen over and over again. It started to play a trick on you, like, man what’s going on? We talking amongst each other, the conversations like, ‘We gonna be alright.’ The conversations should have been like, ‘Nah, we need to change this. We need to switch this up.’”
Failure to make adjustments is a fair critique of Doc—I’m sure the Bucks have spent their entire offseason saying the exact same thing about Mike Budenholzer—but what stands out the most about this quote is his insistence that “we” need to change this. That “we” need to switch this up. So you’re over there coughing up double-digit leads in three consecutive games and never, not one time, thought to step up and say something yourself? What the hell are they paying you nearly $40 million a year for?
And lastly, here’s George’s coup de grace:
“At the end of the day I don’t think we deserved it. We wasn’t prepared enough going into it—just us making adjustments. We wasn’t prepared. We didn’t put the work into it. It was kind of just like, ‘Yo, we got PG, we got Kawhi, we got [Lou Williams], [Montrezl Harrell]. We gonna be straight. We gonna figure it out.’ “
This nigga cannot be fucking serious. The Clippers season has been over for months and he still has yet to say say “me” or “I” one damn time. Absolutely no accountability whatsoever. And then you’re gonna speak on behalf of your teammates and say your team didn’t deserve it? What in the hell?
In October, I wrote about how Ty Lue’s got a lot of work to do to fix the Clippers. But as long as George is on the roster, this team will always have a leadership void.