Smooth Aggression: How OKC Thunder forward Paul George forced his way into MVP race

OKC Thunder forward Paul George (Photo by Gary Bassing/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder forward Paul George (Photo by Gary Bassing/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder forward Paul George (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

In 50 games this season OKC Thunder forward Paul George has made a strong case to win MVP. Here’s how PG13 forced his way into the MVP conversation.

Paul George has been spectacular for the OKC Thunder this season. He is averaging career highs in points, field goals made (and attempted), rebounds, and steals per game. George also leads the league in total steals with 114 (no other player has 100) and loose balls recovered 112 (no other player has more than 89).

As of this writing, PG’s direct competitor for the MVP is James Harden who edges him out in total deflections 184 to 183.

Earlier this season ESPN reporter Royce Young revealed the biggest difference from last season to this season for George, his comfort level. This season George is playing with smooth aggression rarely witnessed in professional sports, he is forcing nothing and letting the game completely come to him.

Moreover, PG’s added comfort has greatly benefited his craft. He has had twenty 30-point games this season the second most of his career. To put that is perspective, last season George had eleven 30-point games the entire campaign.

The Thunder have needed each of his scoring outbursts when PG scores 30 or more they boast a 16-4 record which is a spiffy 80 percent winning efficiency. When George fails to score 30 they are a more paltry 15-14, or 51.7 percent winning efficiency.

National perspective

Since the NBA’s 41 game halfway mark has passed, college football has concluded, and the NFL season is wrapping up national media members are beginning to take notice of what is transpiring on the hardwood.

First up is ESPN’s the Jump, host Rachel Nichols was joined by Amin Elhassan and Byron Scott, as the trio discussed where PG and Giannis Antetokounmpo rank in the MVP race.

In the above clip, Scott and Elhassan are split on the debate. After the clash between the Thunder and Bucks on January 27, Scott stated he has moved PG ahead of the Greek Freak in the MVP race. Whereas, Elhassan said he cannot overlook what Giannis has put together for the duration of the season.

Undisputed Views

On Fox Sport’ Undisputed, Skip Bayless, Shannon Sharpe, and guest Eddie House recently voiced their opinion on George. None of the analysts predicted George would win the most valuable player award, although Bayless came close. However, they unanimously agreed George is a contender for the MVP award, the trio also touched on PG’s odds for another award.

Regardless of where the analysts stand today each team has roughly 30 games left on the slate. Therefore, in the stretch run, results, performances both good and bad, and unfortunately injuries will be deciding factors when naming the most valuable player.