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Three Stars: Paul George on the rise

Feb 6, 2013, 2:04 AM EDT

Atlanta Hawks' Korver guards Indiana Pacers' George during their NBA basketball game in Indianapolis

There’s nothing quite like the phenomenon of watching a young player ascend to stardom. When a young player bursts on to the scene and starts making extraordinary plays routine, he captures our imagination. How good could 22-year-old Paul George be? Who does he remind us of? Potential is enticing on its own, but when it’s paired with production our minds really start to race. We don’t know where George will end up in his career, but for right now, let’s settle for ranking him with two surprise performances from an entertaining Tuesday night in the association:

Three Stars: Jeremy Lin – (28 points, 9 assists, 5-for-8 from deep)

Speaking of taking the world by storm, let’s talk about Jeremy Lin. No one understands the rise to stardom quite like Lin, who has seen the highest of the highs in his Knicks days and some low valleys with the Rockets. Lin has suffered the fate most talented “fresh” players do — they become popular, everyone loves them, and then people start to pick at their weaknesses and bring them back down to earth. While Lin hasn’t been on the level he was last year, he hasn’t exactly been a bust either. He’s nifty off the dribble, good in the pick-and-roll, and has pretty quick hands defensively. Lin’s biggest problem is his shooting stroke, but tonight it was no problem at all. Lin connected on career-high five 3-pointers against the Warriors, leading the way in a record-tying night for the Rockets.

Second Star: Samuel Dalembert – (35 points, 12 rebounds, 17-for-21)

This has to be the most random scoring performance of the year, right? Milwaukee Bucks center Samuel Dalmbert has played in 26 games this season, averaging 15 minutes a game and 5.7 points. But tonight against the Nuggets, something got into ‘ol Sam and he went off. Dalembert rattled off a career-high 35 points in 27 minutes on an incredible 17-for-21 shooting night, regularly knocking down the little 15 footer he’s honed for years. Dalembert blew his previous career-high of 27 points out of the water, but the Bucks melted down in the fourth quarter and allowed the Nuggets to storm back. It’s a shame the game of Dalembert’s life was wasted by Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, who combined to go 11-for-36 for 24 points and 9 turnovers.

First Star: Paul George – (29 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists)

Anytime you have to tell people to stop with the comparisons to an all-time great, you’re doing pretty well:

George is playing with an unreal confidence offensively right now, and it’s reflected in his personal numbers and Indiana’s big nights recently. In the last 10 games, George is averaging nearly 20 points, 8 rebounds and 4.5 assists a contest. Indiana, meanwhile, has scored over 100 points in 6 of their last 10 games, which is almost unthinkable earlier in the season. George’s ability to get his shot off late in the clock is a huge factor for Indiana, and his ability to use those long limbs in transition and dunk everything doesn’t hurt either. With Danny Granger set to return soon, it will be interesting to see how the new George co-exists with such a high usage player like Granger. Will he defer, or will he continue on his scoring warpath? We’ll have to wait and see, but for now, just try and enjoy the overall display George is putting on.

  1. saint1997 - Feb 6, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    trade danny granger? Paul has been great at the 3 (he’s been my favourite player for a while now) and you’d like to think Granger and some bench players coupled together could bring in some good picks/proven talent (maybe a dynamic scorer at the 2?)

    • saint1997 - Feb 6, 2013 at 2:57 AM

      Just had another thought as I posted that. Danny Granger for a pick and Tyreke?

      • 00maltliquor - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:37 PM


      • saint1997 - Feb 7, 2013 at 3:16 AM

        Right? the more i think about it the more i like it. That could be a very cool team with a nice mix of slashers and shooters plus Tyreke could get all the ball he wants with a team that needs offensive creation

  2. redsghost - Feb 6, 2013 at 4:20 AM

    I was thinking- trade Paul George and keep Granger. The Celts could use him.

    • pellypell - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      Nice try Danny Ainge!

    • saint1997 - Feb 7, 2013 at 3:15 AM

      yeh lets trade away huge upside young player and keep the at best borderline all star. sure

  3. davidly - Feb 6, 2013 at 5:09 AM

    With 82 games a season, one’d be a fool not to enjoy all the good ones. All this talk about where somebody’ll be in the future is folly, especially from the perspective of this lifelong Pacers’ fan. You gotta take what you get.

    As far as trading Granger goes, one should consider the fact that while Paul George’s production is up, it’s because he is playing eight more minutes per game. His FG% is actually down. The Pacers would be smart to keep both of them, even from the cold-hearted bu’ness perspective of “leverage”, but not least of which because they have a balanced team with great D and are a joy to watch.

  4. 00maltliquor - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    There’s nothing quite like the phenomenon of watching a young player ascend to stardom. When a young player bursts on to the scene and starts making extraordinary plays routine, he captures our imagination. How good could 22-year-old Paul George be?

    ………….Until he signs his first big post-rookie contract, plays a few years, then the team tries to trade him and his salary to get under the cap, and get another young player or a pick to wash-rinse-repeat the cycle allllll over again.

    It’s what happend to countless others, most recently Rudy Gay, and what’s inevidably gonna happen to Danny Granger ironically (remember it was Granger that was Paul George on the rise when they sent out Ron Artest to SAC to make room for Granger to be the next thing smokin’.)

    Paul, you just the flavor of the next 3-4 years. Sorry to break it to you.

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