Paul George is one of the most criticized players in the NBA for the past couple of years, with people losing faith in George's ability to take over games and lead his team to the promised land. However, now that the Clippers made it past the Jazz into the Western Conference Finals, the narrative might be different because George was one of the crucial players in the last three games for the Clippers.
His presence on both ends of the floor is what makes the Clippers a serious championship contender. Still, the lack of respect he is getting is considered unfair by former NBA players Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles. In an interview for the BasketballNews podcast, Richardson says George is not getting the same treatment as some other players who, unlike George, don't receive the same type of criticism.
For some reason, certain guys get a pass. Sometimes, certain guys try to be on Paul George, and this is not to pick anybody, but at the same time, they won't say anything about Kawhi. I love them both, but this is like comparing the Yankees when they had Jeter and A-Rod. A-Rod was criticized all the time, and Jeter was the superhero no matter what. Sometimes in sports, you don't get viewed that way.
Quentin Richardson, via Basketball News
Darius Miles believes many people fall into the narrative of how media portrays a specific player, which in George's case was predominantly negative. Players themselves are aware of the criticism they receive, either if it's positive or negative, but that criticism shapes them and their game differently. Miles thinks George is now in a good rhythm, ready to help his team make it to the NBA Finals.
I think with PG you can't feed into it. I'm so proud of him and this year how he came back from that season and how he is playing. I texted him the other day out of the blue how I'm proud of him and how he is looking good and happy. You look like you are in the zone. When you feed into the media, and if you want to go back and forth, you have to know there is going to be a backlash, it's the era we live in.
Darius Miles, via BasketballNews
The Clippers have a lot on their hands in the series against the Suns, especially if Kawhi won't play because of his injury. It's time for George to step up big time doing what he does best, and that is scoring and locking down the best Suns players on defense. The last couple of games, he looked like his former self, and with a big chip on his shoulder, George will need to prove once again he belongs among the best players in the NBA, which is the only way he can shut down the critics and prove to himself he can be a difference-maker.
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