Paul George Is Right. He’s Not James Harden. But He’s Getting Paid Like He Is.

Paul George glossed himself Playoff P a couple of years ago. The nickname implied that George, as a basketball threat, is a person that comes through in the playoffs. That he’s prime-time. In a ten year career, George has been in the playoffs nine times. But he’s only played 79 playoff games. The last four appearances before this bubble playoff, he’s lost in the first round.

In 2016, he lost to the Raptors in 7 games. George averaged 27.3 ppg but three times in that series his 3-ball had the flu. In game 3, he shot 12.5% from three. The Pacers lost. In game 4, he shot 25% from three. The Pacers won. In game 6, he shot 20% from three. The Pacers won.

In 2017, he was swept by the Cavs. In the closeout game, George shot 23% and had 15 points.

In 2018, he lost to the Jazz in 6. Being in the Western Conference didn’t change much about George and the playoffs. In game 4, he shot 22% from three. The Thunder lost. In Game 6, the closeout game, he shot 12%. So much for achieving under pressure.

In 2019, George lost in 5 games in the first round to the Blazers and Dame Leonard whose game-winning bye-bye wave annoys Paul George to this day.  George did have a hurt shoulder in that series but he gutted it out in pain and to be fair only game three was when his shoulder was a factor; he only shot 18%. But what Lillard has done in the playoffs is what many expect Paul George to do. But mostly he falls short.

It makes you wonder why George gave himself Playoff P as a nickname when he’s been anything but. Maybe he needs it for his confidence as a reminder, or maybe it’s a challenge. George deflects and says he does more than shoot which is his way of asking everyone to look away from his dismal numbers.

George had a good enough first game in the 2020 playoffs shooting 36% from three but games 2 and 3 were a horror show(s). 20% and 12% from three. 14 and 11 points respectively aren’t exactly what the Clippers expected when they stole George from OKC.

Charles Barkley had fun at George’s expense. He mocked the whole concept of Playoff P, comparing it to Championship Chuck. Both names are ridiculous. George underdelivers in the playoffs and Chuck doesn’t have a ring.

George is a two-way player which I suppose was his point when he said “I’m no James Harden.” Yes and no. Harden has a history of underperforming in the playoffs too. But Harden is going to stroke the rock and then he is going to freeze under stress. It’s maddening. George though has those hellacious games. He wants us to look at what he does on defense that even Harden doesn’t. But the reason Paul George is making $33 million this year, $4 million less than James Harden, has to do what he brings on offense, particularly beyond the arc. George shoots 38% beyond the arc in the regular season but come playoffs it drops to 35%. (This playoff season it is 24%). More concerning is the rest of  George’s game.

His offensive rating this playoff go-round is 93 and his defensive rating is 116. Despite his proclamation of doing more than scoring, his entire game is way off. His PER is 9.9. In the regular season, it was 21.1.

George likes to tell the lie that it doesn’t matter what other people think about him. “I am who I am. You can love it or you don’t. Simple as that.”

Nah. It’s more complex than loving Paul George. That’s for his family and friends. We are watching the basketball player fail at his job and it makes us think Paul George is the total opposite of Playoff P. He has overrated himself. Like, big time.