Less is always more.
And in the case of Paul George, we need less talking from him and more production in playoff games.
The Clippers’ 6-foot-8, 220-pound swingman is one of the best basketball players on Earth. He’s a matchup nightmare every night on the court.
PG13 is a problem.
But, PG13 also has a problem. He likes to contradict himself, and he has a long history of saying things that aren’t true.
Last week, George made an appearance on Matt Barnes’ and Stephen Jackson’s “All The Smoke” podcast. The two former NBA champions host a show that allows athletes to come on and let their guards down, as they’re talking to two people who have been in their shoes. George used the opportunity to speak about what happened to the Clippers in The Bubble as they blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets, which led to head coach Doc Rivers being fired and a retooling of their roster.
“Doc was trying to play me as a Ray Allen or a J.J. Redick, all pin-downs,” George explained. “I can do it, but that ain’t my game. I need some flow, I need some mixes of some pick-and-roll and post-ups.”
In George’s mind, he was being used as a shooter when he believed he needed the ball in his hands to be better.
But then this happened.
“I enjoyed coaching him,” Rivers said in response to George’s comments. “So, not a lot to say there. Ty Lue was sitting right next to me. Listen, we lost the game, and I think everybody needs to take ownership. Obviously, we can always do better, and players can play better. As far as I’m concerned, I’ll leave it there.”
A few days after the podcast was released, George raised eyebrows again when he discussed his future plans during his first media session of the 2020-2021 season.
A California native saying that he wants to end his career playing in Los Angeles makes sense. However, this isn’t the first time George has said something like this, as he has a history of claiming to want to stay with a franchise, and then winding up somewhere else.
“I would like to. I think the biggest thing is wanting to win a championship, and be the first to win a championship and bring that to Indiana.”
That’s what George told ESPN’s Sage Steele when asked if he was staying in Indiana six days before the NBA tradeline during the 2017 All-Star break. A few months later, the Pacers shipped George to OKC for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, as he had informed the Pacers that he would not re-sign with them once his contract expired.
Once George was in OKC, he let his emotions get to him again as he publicly declared that Oklahoma would be his forever home in June of 2018.
By the very next summer, George wanted out, requesting a trade to the Clippers. Thunder GM Sam Presti was reportedly “stunned,” and then-head coach Billy Donovan was also caught off guard.
“I was taken back, because … I think Paul enjoyed his time here,” Donovan told The Oklahoman. “I do think when he first came here, there was a lot of speculation. ‘This is only going to be a one-year experiment and then he’s going to want to get back to L.A.’ Paul’s obviously got a lot of ties and affinity for L.A. and where he’s from. I get that part of it. I get that part for his family. His mom and dad are great people. Yeah, It catches you.”
In George’s defense, there were legitimate reasons why he wanted out. With the Pacers, he felt like winning a championship wasn’t the franchise’s immediate goal. And with the Thunder, his mother’s health issues played a part in him wanting to go home.
At age 30, George has the right to do whatever he wants, which also includes requesting trades to other places that may make him happy. But with that comes criticism, given that George’s initial public comments often don’t line up with his public actions. Because Doc Rivers isn’t why George did this when his team needed him most.
To be clear, I’m not picking on Paul George. I just want someone close to him to keep him aware of what he says publicly, since the internet never forgets. Because while George may want to retire a Clipper, it doesn’t mean the Clippers feel the same.