OKC Thunder Preseason Previsions: How a perfect storm could result in Paul George winning MVP

Paul George, OKC Thunder (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Paul George, OKC Thunder (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder forward Paul George (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Peer group in the record books:

The last four MVP winners are exceptional players, but Westbrook, James Harden, and Steph Curry are not known as two-way players. George on the other hand is. Last season, George registered the second most deflections (309), contested the 50th most shots (635), and contested the 10th most 3-point shots (307).

PG’s defensive performance and statistics were formidable enough to land him fourth in the defensive player of the year (DPoY) voting in 2017-18. George has the hustle aspect of defense mastered. Perhaps, if George becomes more consistent on the defensive end he can swap his DPoY votes for MVP votes.

Shifting to the opposite side of the ball

George is a gifted shooter, especially when it comes to shooting from the perimeter. In 2017-18 George’s 3-point percentage (40.1) ranked 34th among 189 qualified players. On wide open 3-point shots George shot 47.7 percent, tied with Curry for seventh, amid 166 players to attempt 100 or more wide-open threes.

A good marker for Paul George in this area is a comparison his perimeter efficiency and ranking versus the last five MVP winners.

  • Harden, 2017-18: 36.7 percent, ranking: tied 99th out of 189 players
  • Westbrook, 2016-17: 34.3 percent, ranking: 125th out of 177 players
  • Curry, 2015-16: 45.7 percent, ranking: second out of 161 players
  • Curry, 2014-15: 44.7 percent, ranking: third out of 159 players
  • Durant, 2013-14: 39.1 percent, ranking: 39th out of 154 players

*Ranking based off players to attempt 150 or more 3-point shots, unless otherwise noted.

The rankings demonstrate how MVP voters do not penalize poor 3-point shooters. However, having a higher shooting percentage is always preferential. So long as George can replicate his pre-All-Star break shooting stroke, the Thunder forward should remain high in the 3-point shooting pecking order.