The Oklahoma City Thunder have acquired Paul George from the Indiana Pacers via trade for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo early this offseason. OKC came out of nowhere winning the race for PG that everyone thought Boston or Cleveland would win. Now with the question of where George would end up answered, the new question is how will he and Russell Westbrook mesh with each other?
The Thunder were smart to strike quickly and accomplish a trade of this quality. There is still a long way before the new season which leaves the new pair of star teammates to build their chemistry. George has already stated his thoughts on playing with Westbrook.
“I’m thrilled,” George told Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated. “All I was asking for was a little help in Indy. Now I’m getting a lot of help in Oklahoma.”
Paul George also commented on how their games can mesh offensively saying, “I think I fit how he plays and vice versa. Being a knock down shooter, I think I can spread the floor for him and run the floor with him,” George said. “But I also think I can help get him easier opportunities, being able to drive and dish the ball out, so he can attack guys closing in on him.”
PG brings better shooting to a team that ranked 17th in the league in field goal percentage and dead last in 3-point percentage. Last season George shot 39 percent from beyond the arc and 46 percent overall. He shot better from 3 than anybody on the Thunder’s roster that played valuable minutes. On top of his great ability to score, he is a decent, willing passer. He has shown that he does not have to be the leading scorer every game. He’s an unselfish leader and adds another high IQ mind in the locker room. George may be more tolerant with Westbrook than KD was similar to how he was with Monta Ellis, another ball-dominant guard which is very important to the team’s success as Westbrook is one of the most ball dominant players in the league. George is not focused on the potential of the offense though compared to what he’s envisioning for the defense stating “Our (team) defense, is going to be insane,” George said.
Assuming Westbrook and George connect at the right time, the Thunder have the potential to be a top 4 seed in the stacked Western Conference. On the other hand, if this season is more successful than last season and both superstars re-sign, the duo can be better than KD and Westbrook ever were during their time playing together. This new era of basketball in OKC will be more epic than ever with both of these players teaming up in their primes. Sam Presti has done a great job bringing the team back to being real West contenders after losing Kevin Durant last offseason.