“I don’t know what it is; dudes love throwing my name in stuff.” That’s how Paul George responded to Jared Dudley’s new book in which Playoff P was pinpointed as the main motivator for the Lakers to beat the Clippers.
Dudley just released a 41-page mini-book in which he described the Lakers’ journey to the title last year. In it, he wrote about their LA rivals and how the Lakers were gearing up for the anticipated Western Conference Finals that never happened. From the get-go, the Clippers talked about themselves as the favorites for the Larry O’. Obviously, the Lakers had a few thoughts on that.
We hear some of those guys talking about how they’re the team to beat in LA. It’s fine if Kawhi says stuff like that. He’s defending a championship. We don’t trip if someone like Patrick Beverley is talking trash; that’s how he feeds his family. We get it. We respect the hustle.Jared Dudley, Inside the NBA Bubble: A Championship Season under Quarantine
It’s still used for motivation, but players understand everyone is trying to motivate themselves and boost confidence before the big matchup. It’s a part of the game. But, one guy said things that made everybody check twice to make sure they got it right.
But we think it’s disrespectful for Paul George, who hasn’t won, to put himself on the level of Bron and AD. This motivates us. When we see those guys around the compound, we don’t really kick it with them.Jared Dudley, Inside the NBA Bubble: A Championship Season under Quarantine
So George’s attitude wasn’t just problematic in the Clippers locker room. It also gave the Lakers extra motivation to let everyone know he’s not on that level yet. Playoff P doesn’t get why.
It’s not like he talked about the Clippers as the favorites and then said it wasn’t a championship or bust season (when everyone else on the team did.) Or that he said it’s everything’s cool when the Nuggets came back to 3-3 and later said the team lacked urgency. Or that he announced the return to his MVP level performance, even though George never won an MVP.
Or that he threw his former coach under the bus for not using him in pick and roll when that coach put him in most pick and rolls in his career. Or that he blamed Santa and Christmas food for the largest deficit at halftime in NBA history, the worst loss in Clippers history. Or going way back, that he had a commercial where he’s draining a game-winner while being 0-14 in his career on game-tying or go-ahead at the time.
I don’t know why I didn’t see it sooner, but Paul George is continuing Dwight Howard‘s legacy. Howard never understood why he rubbed people the wrong way, how come people aren’t laughing at his jokes and had a lot of cringe moments, including asking for Stan Van Gundy to get fired and crash his press conference while that was the topic, only to lie because he was embarrassed.
Instead of being a defensive monster who just rolls to the rim and dunks everything in sight, Howard got it in his head he can be the next Kareem. Ultimately that was his downfall. It remains to be seen if George will make the same mistake and complete the similarities with Howard.