Paul George wants to take a step as a leader

If the return of Kawhi Leonard is obviously highly anticipated at the Clippers, another big name in the Californian franchise will have to step-up to hope to take Los Angeles to the top. That guy is Paul George, who not only intends to shine on the courts but also to show the way for his buddies through a leadership role that he increasingly assumes.

Two years ago, Paul George lived one of the worst moments of his career. Not in his shoes inside Orlando’s anti-COVID bubble, PG-13 had become the symbol of the Clippers’ fiasco, eliminated by the Nuggets after leading 3-1 in the Western Conference semifinals. Between catastrophic perfs and mockery on social networks, Paulo simply found himself at the bottom of the hole. But since then, the perception around Paulo has changed a lot. George first shut his mouth in the 2020-21 season, which he started playing at MVP level and ended by guiding the Clippers to just two NBA Finals victories despite Kawhi Leonard’s injury. . Boosted by its very big Playoffs campaign, PG then left on similar bases last season in the absence of Kawhi. And if he unfortunately had to join the infirmary in turn during the season, we saw that Paul’s influence as a leader grew more and more within Tyronn Lue’s group. And now, at the dawn of a crucial season where the Clippers finally want to reach the NBA Finals, George has every intention of taking another step in this role.

In interview of about twenty minutes produced by the insider of the Clippers Ohm Youngmisuk (ESPN), we learn for example that Paul George organized a minicamp near Santa Barbara and San Diego during the summer, obviously with the aim of working on the automatisms before the start of the training camp but also to build this camaraderie with the newcomers. After the glitches of last year (only 31 games played), PG absolutely wants to maximize the coming season and that does not only go through individual work on a technical or physical level, it also goes through this ability to pull others to the top.

“I think it was important [d’organiser ces minicamps, ndlr.]. It was important to stay connected this summer. I just wanted to see my teammates, communicate, laugh, and be together. […] It is important for the culture of the team. There was already a real culture here before we arrived with Kawhi. But we want to push it even further. »

Taking no rest this summer outside of the two weeks surrounding his wedding, Paul George simply seems on a mission. This is year 4 of the Clippers project started in 2019 when PG and Kawhi arrived, this is the year when the City of Angels franchise finally wants to achieve results that match their ambitions. The Conference Final in 2021 was a real good step in the right direction. But now we’re almost in mode championship or bust on the Los Angeles side. And that Paul George is perfectly aware of it. Faced with the large dose of talent and the very serious depth of the current team, PG-13 wants a Team USA mentality at the Clippers.

“It really is a state of mind. Of course we have a lot of good players but when you put us together the idea is to make sure that everyone gives their all, that everyone can shine in their own style. We have a special talent pool. If everyone plays the game seriously, plays 100% all the time, and asks to go out when they’re tired because they know they have a buddy behind them to bring the same energy, that promises us great things. »

Sacrifice, cohesion, automatisms, leadership. So many elements that Paul George wants to see in these Clippers 2022-23 and that he will try to advocate throughout the season. As we know, Kawhi Leonard – who remains on a white season – is not the most talkative and guides above all through his ability to destroy everything that is in front of him on the floor. This is what also gives room for PG to assert himself a little more in his role as leader, as much thanks to his talent as through his actions off the field. At 32 and still looking for his very first ring, George knows very well that the opportunities to get the Larry O’Brien Trophy are not endless, and it’s probably also this sense of urgency that drives him. to step-up some more today.

If coach Ty Lue will also count on veterans like John Wall and Marcus Morris to assist him in the locker room, Paul George has every intention of assuming his status as a leader to help the Clippers maximize their potential. When you have seven selections to the All-Star Game, when you have proven an ability to carry the team even in the absence of the best player in the group aka Kawhi, you have the legitimacy to do so.

Text source: ESPN

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Paul George wants to take a step as a leader


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