2010 NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Paul George

Editor's Note, by rook6980: This is the 18th installment in a series of regular postings on draft prospects.  This series will take a look at the top draft prospects for the 2010 NBA Draft in June. The plan is to have one or two a week, leading up to a flurry of activity the week of the draft. My DVR is crammed full of college games, and I'm watching and writing as fast as I can.

Paul George

  • SG/SF
  • 20 Years Old
  • Fresno State, Sophomore

Chicago Pre-Draft Combine Official Measurements:

  • Height w/ shoes: 6-8.75
  • Weight: 214
  • Wingspan: 6-11.25
  • Standing Reach: 8-11
  • Body Fat: 5.0%

 

Draft Projection: Late lottery to mid first round

Paul George was a late bloomer. He was not heavily recruited out of high school, and was not in discussions about top players; but he burst onto the draft scene after a stellar freshman year at Fresno State.

However, he couldn't push his Fresno State team to a winning season as a sophomore. As a matter of fact, George is one of the few prospects in this year's draft that played on an unsuccessful college team (15-18, 5th Western Athletic Conference) -- and Fresno State is not exactly a high-profile college program. Yet his skills and upside have scouts talking about him being drafted in the lottery.

George measured out at 6'9" in shoes, so he has great size for a shooting guard, which is the position he is projected to play in the NBA. George is an elite level athlete, possessing teriffic quickness, speed and tremendous leaping ability. Here is where I would normally extoll the virtues of his maximum vertical measurements from the Combine, but George, for reasons known only to him, refused to participate in the athletic measurements in Chicago. For a guy that is being considered by teams drafting in the lottery, that seems like an odd way to impress them. In any event, from what I've seen of him in games, and on Youtube, I'd say his max vertical is probably slightly lower than Xavier Henry's (36.5-inches).

George has all the tools to be a very good offensive player. Everything starts with his jump shot.  Not classic by any means, Paul George shoots his jump shot with a flick of his wrist. Actually more of a set shot, he shoots from just above his head. Even with his awkward mechanics and relatively low release point, his height and length make his shot difficult to challenge. I'm not sure I'd mess with changing his shot, as he seems to do well shooting both long two-pointers (48%) and three-point shots (36%). George has deep range, and is a very good three-point shooter when his feet are set. He is especially good in catch-and-shoot situations, and when curling off screens. He's almost automatic if he's left unguarded with a free look at the basket from beyond the three-point line. He's much less accurate when shooting off the dribble.

George is a silky smooth player that will dazzle you one play with a slithery drive to the basket, finishing with his left hand ... and leave you dumbfounded the next play with an untimely mistake or questionable shot selection. He has only average ball handling skills, and that sometimes leads to turnovers. Fortunately, George knows his own weaknesses. In an interview with Sherron Shabazz of the NBA Examiner, George said this when asked about his weaknesses:  "A weakness is probably just learning the game a little bit more, decision making too because I ultimately want to get my assists up and turnovers down." So it's a good thing that he acknowledges his most glaring weaknesses.

George is great in transition, uaually finishing with a thunderous dunk. Even though he lacks strength and bulk, he's a good finisher, and can use either hand. He's unselfish and has good court vision. It helps that he can see OVER most other guards. He averaged 3.7 assists (per 40 minutes, pace adjusted) his sophomore year. Occasionally, he'll break out a filthy crossover, spin move or step-back, but in general, he needs to work on his advanced offensive moves.

In his freshman year, George used his jumper to set up his slashing game. Defenses would key on him at the three-point line, and with a very good quick first step, he was past them and at the rim, where he was a tremendous finisher. But in his sophomore year, he fell in love with shooting 3-pointers (almost six per game at 36%). At the next level, he will need to improve his ball handling skills and return to the slashing style that best utilizes his great athleticism and size.

George gets to the free throw line an average of 5.5 times a game. With his length, finishing ability and athleticism, I would hope for a higher number of attempts at the next level. Once at the free-throw line, George is almost automatic, shooting 91%, so his flick of the wrist and awkward shooting mechanics certainly don't hurt his free throw percentage. This is another reason I don't think teams should worry about the mechanics of his jumper.

Defensively, George is a mixed bag. On the one hand, he gets a ton of steals (2.7 per 40, pace adjusted) utilizing his extremely quick hands and his quick first step to get in the passing lanes. He's a very good rebounder for a wing (8.8 per 40 minutes, pace adjusted). He goes up strong and grabs the ball at its highest point.

On the other hand ... well he has the tools to become an elite defender (size, length, quick hands, great lateral quickness and terrific leaping ability). The problem is that he doesn't put forth the effort and takes plays off on defense. He comes out of his stance, doesn't rotate properly, and forgets about backside help, all of which points to a lack of focus on the defensive end.

STRENGTHS:

  • Excellent size for Position
  • Explosive, elite level athleticism
  • Excellent 3-point shooter
  • Smooth game
  • Versatile
  • Sees the floor
  • Good rebounder
  • Well rounded offensive game
  • Eliet defensive potential
  • High upside
  • Still very young

 

WEAKNESSES:

  • Ballhandling needs work
  • Turnover prone
  • Defensive effort
  • Needs to add strength
  • Inconsistent
  • Doesn't always play hard
  • Needs to polish his overall game
  • Lacks experience
  • Weak competition in College

Can he make the adjustment from being "the man" to being the third or fourth option on a rebuilding team? The skills aren’t there just yet, but the athleticism and size are. In a draft class with very few elite wing players George could be one of the best options at that position come June. I'd still take Xavier Henry over Paul George every day of the week, but George is the third best Shooting Guard available in this draft.

 

Paul George has the size and athleticism for the NBA, and because of those attributes he has drawn comparisons to Shawn Marion and Tracy McGrady. Let's hope he works hard enough to come close to those comparisons.

More Paul George videos:

Previous Draft Profiles:

John Wall PG 6-4 195 Fr Kentucky Declared for the NBA Draft.
Evan Turner SG 6-7 217 Jr. Ohio St Declared for the NBA Draft.
Wesley Johnson SF 6-7 205 Jr. Syracuse Declared for the NBA Draft.
Derrick Favors PF 6-9 246 Fr. Ga. Tech Declared for the NBA Draft.
DeMarcus Cousins C 6-11 280 Fr. Kentucky Declared for the NBA Draft.
Al-Farouq Aminu F 6-8 218 Soph. Wake Forest Declared for the NBA Draft
Cole Aldrich C 6-11 245 Jr. Kansas Declared for the NBA Draft
Greg Monroe C 6-10 247 Soph. Georgetown Declared for the NBA Draft
Patrick Patterson F 6-8 235 Jr. Kentucky Declared for the NBA Draft.
Ed Davis F 6-10 225 Soph. North Carolina Declared for the NBA Draft.
Hassan Whiteside  C 7-0 235 Fr. Marshall Declared for the NBA Draft
Xavier Henry
SG 6-6 220 Fr. Kansas Declared for the NBA Draft.
Larry Sanders PF 6-10 220 Jr. VCU Declared for the NBA Draft.
Ekpe Udoh PF/C 6-10 240 Jr. Baylor Declared for the NBA Draft.
Stanley Robinson SF 6-8 220 Sr. UConn Senior - Eligible for the Draft
James Anderson SG 6-6 195 Jr. Oklahoma St. Declared for the NBA Draft.
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