Revisiting OKC Thunder franchise altering blockbuster Paul George trade

Former OKC Thunder star Paul George and Kawhi Leonard #2 LA Clippers (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Former OKC Thunder star Paul George and Kawhi Leonard #2 LA Clippers (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Former OKC Thunder stat now LA Clippers star Paul George (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

How the deal is working out for the Clippers:

Through 60 games played the Clippers sit in the third seed with an identical record to the Nuggets but by virtue of Denver owning a better divisional record they hold the second seed (for now).

As for the two superstars, this season hasn’t exactly gone as planned. When they both grace the court there are glimpses of the brilliance envisioned when the pair were signed. The problem is getting them both on the court simultaneously.

Leonard’s notorious load management has paid dividends and in recent weeks he’s resembled a pre injury version of himself particularly on the defensive end of the hardwood. He’s appeared in 47 games (missing 13) averaging 27 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1. 8 steals and shooting the 3-ball at 36.6 percent.

George meanwhile has missed 22 games experiencing a variety of ailments. It started with his offseason shoulder surgeries but repeated issues with his hamstring have kept him out frequently this campaign.

Per Game Table
2017-18 OKC 79 36.6 17.0 .430 7.7 .401 9.3 .454 5.2 .822 4.7 5.7 3.3 2.0 21.9
2018-19 OKC 77 36.9 21.0 .438 9.8 .386 11.1 .484 7.0 .839 6.8 8.2 4.1 2.2 28.0
2019-20 LAC 38 29.1 16.4 .429 8.1 .401 8.2 .457 4.3 .891 5.3 5.8 3.8 1.3 21.2
Career 594 33.5 15.6 .433 6.4 .380 9.2 .470 4.8 .846 5.5 6.4 3.3 1.7 19.9

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 3/3/2020.

It was expected the superstar duo would result in some shifts and logically George would experience a dip in some of his stats. Yet, there might be some cause for concern given the numerous stat categories he regressed in. Granted, he’s playing almost eight minutes less although it’s likely an uptick will occur in down the stretch and into the postseason (assuming the hamstring issues are all cleared up).

Compared to last season he’s scoring  6.8 fewer points. His shooting split reflects fewer attempts from the field (4.6 less), perimeter (2.9 fewer) and line (2.7 fewer) with a regression in his efficiency from the field. Additionally, his penchant for grabbing steals is down by almost a full steal per game (0.9 less) as well as a downward trend in assists (3.8 versus 4.1) and rebounds ( 2.4 less).

This may all be a matter of George’s injuries and the inability until recently to get both Leonard and George on the floor together.

Certainly, the pair excel in the minutes they’ve been able to both be featured. That said, as the team moves towards the postseason PG’s health will be a talking point.