First-time All-Star Paul George of the Indiana Pacers participated in a regional interview for the Asian media on Friday, Feb. 8, talking on a myriad of points ranging from his vastly improved game to his ultimate goal of becoming one of the best players in the league.
George was selected to participate in the 2013 All-Star Game extravaganza in Houston for the first time in his young career. The California native was also picked to take part in the 3-point shooting contest in the year’s edition of All-Star weekend.
Despite the loss of their top scorer and former All-Star Danny Granger at the start of the season, the Indiana Pacers surprised a lot of people with their strong play and a huge part of it is the 6’8 swingman from Fresno State.
As of posting time, Indiana has the third best record in the Eastern Conference at 31 wins and 19 losses.
“Being an All-Star was definitely my goal at the start of the season. I knew I had to do something special especially with Danny Granger out,” said George.
“The main thing about me is really just confidence in my game. I got more opportunities to play and learn fast with Danny going out,” he added.
George believes that NBA teams don’t respect Indiana enough despite the Pacers’ impressive record and having snatched the third seed in the Eastern Conference last year.
“You know, it is just what it is. Last year we were the third seed in the East but we still did not the recognition I think we deserve and it really motivates us to prove everybody wrong,” said George.
The third-year swingman shared that he worked hard on his ball handling in the off season after having problems with the defense against the Miami Heat in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals.
“I worked hard on my ball handling and it has definitely helped me a lot this year. I worked hard last summer, I knew I needed to improve on my ball handling because in the Miami series, I let the team down by not being aggressive and attacking so this year I hope I can do better,” said George.
One of the most important aspects of George’s game is his defense, and the former 10th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft knows his defensive prowess and plans to wreak havoc more on that end of the floor.
“My biggest asset in defense is my length and I have quick feet to challenge point guards, shooting guards. But the main thing is just trying to make it tough for the opponent,” said George.
Being a first-time All-Star will not stop the vastly improved George from working hard because he is planning to claim his spot in the annual event for a long time.
“I want to be a perennial All-Star but I am happy that people look up to you and want to be compared to you but I want leave my own legacy in the league,” said George.
“Growing up, I patterned my game a bit to bigger guards like Penny Hardaway and T-Mac and watched Kobe a lot and idolized him,” he added.
George believes that the only thing missing in his game is his consistency and once that happens, he thinks he will become one of the best players in the game today.
George broke the franchise record of legendary Pacer Reggie Miller in 3-pointers made in a single game, hitting 9-of-13 shots from beyond the arc en route to a career best 37-point performance in a win against the New Orleans Hornets last Nov. 21.
“The greatest strength in my game is that I think I can do anything in the court. I can make a big-time shot, rebound, block or whatever,” a confident George said.
“If I can just stay consistent I know I can prove that I deserve to be playing with those guys every year in the All-Star game,” he ended.