(Photo by Torreypurvey.com)
By Michael Kinney
In the first half of the NBA season, there are very few players who have been as good as Oklahoma City’s Paul George. The veteran forward has seemingly proven why he resigned with the Thunder in the offseason with his play so far.
George reached another milestone this week when he was named a starter for the 2019 All-Star Game. He is slated to make his sixth career All-Star appearance and his third All-Star start.
“When I got traded here, people thought it was going to be the end of me an all-star,” George said. “Coming out to the west. But… God is good.”
In 46 games this season, George is leading the Thunder in scoring while averaging career-highs in points (27.0), rebounds (7.9), steals (2.33) and made threes (3.4). He currently ranks eighth in the NBA in scoring, second in steals and first in points off turnovers (5.0). He leads the league in loose balls recovered (2.3) while ranking second in deflections (3.8).
Since Oct. 28, George has registered the second-best plus-minus rating in the NBA (+9.7) while helping lead the Thunder to a 29-14 record during this span.
“It’s great man,” Russell Westbrook said. “It’s amazing. Just to see the work he’s been putting in over the summer and coming to this year, obviously, in a very very high level and that’s no surprise to me at all. Shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody.”
The 2019 NBA All-Star Game will follow last year’s format whereby LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will draft rosters from a pool of players voted as starters and reserves in each conference, making their picks regardless of conference affiliation.
Fan voting accounted for 50 percent of the overall vote while NBA players and a media panel each accounted for 25 percent of the vote. Among frontcourt players, George received the third-most fan votes (3,122,346) in the Western Conference.
“I’m completely honored, grateful, not only for the state of Oklahoma but for the world for voting,” George said. “Can’t thank the fans enough for being in my corner and behind me all season long.”
TNT will announce the reserves, selected by NBA head coaches, on Thursday, Jan. 31 during NBA Tip-Off. Russell Westbrook is expected to be named a reserve. Steven Adams has an outside shot.
“I think the world, the league, his competition, they all respect what he brings to the table. Steven is a two-way big man,” George said. “He’s going to play on offense and defense. I think teams respect his ability to do everything. That’s a big position and I think he’s very underrated, but his opponents, guys and teams we go up against, they know how much they have to scout for Steven, as much as they have to scout for us.”
The 68th NBA All-Star Game will take place at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. TNT will televise the NBA All-Star Game for a 17th consecutive year.
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider