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Paul George says breakout year because he started preparing like Kobe

Mar 18, 2013, 5:08 PM EDT

Paul George AP

Paul George is on his way to being named NBA Most Improved Player (probably). He’s averaging 17.6 points and 7.9 rebounds a game, he’s shooting 38 percent from three and has a PER of 17. He made the All-Star team this year. With Danny Granger out George had to take on a larger role in the offense, and he did it without a dramatic drop off in efficiency.

Pacers assistant coach (and former Lakers assistant) Brian Shaw was on the radio in Los Angeles last week and said he had pushed George, a Southern California native, by telling him what it was like playing with and coaching Kobe Bryant.

George went on 1070 the Fan in Indianapolis with Grady and Big Joe and basically confirmed that (via Sports Radio Interviews).

“I switched it all up, just my whole preparation. I come in early, I lift before every game and I get about 300 or 400 shots up prior to the game as well. All of that really came from Kobe Bryant. With him being around Brian Shaw and Brian Shaw being around us and me having a relationship with Brian Shaw and the conversations we have had, that’s how Kobe prepares and gets ready for games. Me, idolizing Kobe growing up in L.A, that’s really how I changed my whole season around.”

Shaw described George as a good, motivated young player who always wants to get better but didn’t really know how. Shaw can use Kobe as kind of a road map and motivation. It seems to be working.

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