OKC Thunder Media Day: Paul George – ‘I loved it here, this is home’

Paul George, OKC Thunder (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images)
Paul George, OKC Thunder (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images) /

Paul George took to the dais for the OKC Thunder Media Day embarking on his second full season with the franchise and genuinely happy to “be home”.

For every player, Media Day is the start of a new year, an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. Yet, for star OKC Thunder star Paul George it feels like much more. Having proved all the pundits wrong George did exactly the opposite of predictions which haunted the player and team all last season.

Instead, George arrives this season with his contract locked down for the next four years (fourth year on a player option), fully rested and healthy. The past year was one which offered ebbs and flows. Although the Carmelo Anthony and OK3 experiment never took hold there were other measurable gains.

George clearly enjoyed the benefits which come from playing alongside a peer of equal assets in Westbrook. Moreover PG13 was delighted with the prospect of playing alongside Andre Roberson which offered him a defensive pairing that allowed his own talents to shine on that side of the court, but didn’t force him to be the only player tasked with stopping the best player.

Ironically, these two players are unlikely to be available to start the season which will shift the focus on George. He’ll be tasked with taking the main leadership role through training camp as the OKC Thunder integrate new additions Dennis Schroder, Nerlens Noel and a slew of young talent.

Top takeaways from George’s presser:

Take us through the process of staying in OKC:

More from Thunderous Intentions

‘During the season to start the season off I was just open, very open about the situation. In order for me to do that, for me give everything I had and for me to be committed, I had to be open about coming here. Otherwise I would have been not giving the team every bit of effort or it just would have been something I was holding back. I just told myself to start the process off to just this team everything I have and see what happens. 

Obviously I  developed some good relationships with Russ with Steven, with Dre, Coach Donovan, Sam Presti, Clay. I just developed these really good relationships here, almost feeling like I’d been here for a while. And obviously over the course of the season it just steam rolled. Just got better and better and here I am.’

What sense have you gotten about what it means (his re-signing)

‘Me starting off in a small market helped, with feeling what small markets bring as far as a community stand point. It was a great start to be in Indy for that feeling. And then you know again with the city being behind the team the team being behind the community it just went hand and hand and then just being a part of this team it just felt right.’ 

Re Carmelo: 

“We miss Melo as a brother but if something doesn’t work it doesn’t work….it’s nothing that he did, or the organization, or the coaches did.”

Re: Grant returning:

“He [Jerami Grant] is a special player” and he said he recruited Grant to come back

Why did you return?

“I loved it here, honestly that’s the only answer I can give. I loved it here from a genuine standpoint. From the whole top of the organization, to my teammates to the community. It really feels like home, my youngest daughter was born here, so this is home to me  and we felt great being here.”

How much did Russell Westbrook factor in your decision.

“Russ played one of the biggest factors, him just being him and being genuine. He made it easy for me to be able to open up and just be comfortable.  From day one it was an easy bond and an easy chemistry. For me to just feel comfortable.”  (and more from PG with NBA TV) 


On Kawhi Leonard: 

An interesting comment made by George centered around Kawhi Leonard and their friendship. George told him to stay open to his current situation (with Raptors). PG13 noted both players had planned on going home to play in California, but things changed. That comment cements just how much the original intention was for Paul George to go home and play for the Lakers.

Per Game Table
7 seasonsIND40032.814.3.4325.4.3704.28.9.470.5024.3.8500.
1 seasonOKC7936.617.0.4307.7.4014.29.3.454.5215.2.8220.

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/23/2018.

Entering his second full season with the OKC Thunder George should be much more comfortable in the system. Offseason procedures to correct nagging injuries should also play a factor for the star as he attempts to make a greater impact in the Westbrook – George counter punch.

Next. Thank you Paul George for believing in Oklahoma City. dark

Clearly, the wing man is ready to make his mark both on and off the court.