Sick of arguing with your friends about who is the best player in the NBA? Leading into the ’13-14 NBA Season, Ball So Hard will be putting an end to the debate. Here is the decisive list of the 50 best NBA players.
Note: predictions are for the up coming season and rank players on how they will perform in the ’13-14 season.
No. 14, Paul George
So often in the NBA one player’s misfortune gives a golden opportunity for another to showcase his full abilities. When patella tendinosis restricted Danny Granger to five games last season, it was a blessing in disguise.
The absence of Granger gave Paul George the chance to have a breakout year.
The third year guard out of Fresno State earned his first selection to the All-Star team, All-NBA third team honours, All-Defensive second team honours and the leagues Most Improved Player award.
At the beginning of the season, many thought the absence of Granger would be the end of the Pacers playoff hopes. By the end of the season, George had led Indiana to within one game of the NBA Finals and many were questioning whether Granger was even a required player.
On his way to the Most Improved Award, George put up career highs across the board, bumping his numbers to 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
Where George impressed the most though was in the playoffs. During the season he was a rising star, but by the time the postseason rolled around, he proved he was the Pacers unquestionable leader. In the playoffs, he again increased his production across the board, and put on several game-winning performances.
The Pacers might have fallen short at the final hurdle against Miami, but the improvement and poise that George showed during the fight capped off an incredible coming out party.
He had shown signs of stardom in the past, but last season George finally put it all together.
Coming to the end of his rookie contract at the end of this season, the hype surrounding George’s game had many suitors lining up to pry him away from Indianapolis. However, the Pacers can rest assured that their newfound star isn’t going anywhere after he signed a five-year, $90 million max deal during the offseason.
Signing George wasn’t the only improvement the Pacers made in the offseason. The biggest advantage the Pacers held over Miami was their size and toughness down low, and they added even more size after trading for Luis Scola from Phoenix.
They also improved the notoriously inadequate bench by adding CJ Watson and Chris Copeland to their second unit, while Granger should return and split reserve minutes with Lance Stephenson.
With his contract negotiations already sorted and an improved team behind him, George is in the perfect position to push his team one step further and into the Finals.
With Miami and Indiana again seeming destined to face off in the Eastern Conference finals, look for George to try and turn the Heats misery into Pacers glory.