Oklahoma City Thunder: 3 Goals for Paul George in 2018-19

Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder, Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Return to First-Team All-Defense

George is one of the best defenders in the NBA. He can switch out and guard really well 1 through 4, and theoretically against a number of centers. His ability to guard on the ball all over the floor is incredible. That versatility allows his teammates to be more matchup-sound, and stay more glued to shooters.

He can sit down and stay in front just about anyone in the league, can bother enough in the post, and he might be the best off-ball defender in the NBA. This game against the Golden State Warriors showcased his whole defensive bag.

George was second in the NBA in steals, just behind Oladipo, per Basketball Reference. He was also second in the league in deflections, only trailing Robert Covington of the Philadelphia 76ers, per NBA.com. His anticipation when covering passing lanes on the help and weak-side in particular takes away so many scoring chances. He navigates through off-ball screens effortlessly, too, and makes it difficult for even the best catch-and-specialists. Whitney Medworth of SB Nation demonstrated that here.

If Roberson eventually returns to near-100 percent from a ruptured left patellar tendon (then reported by Cliff Brunt of the Associated Press), this OKC defense could return to elite form. Both are tremendous team and individual defenders for the Thunder. They allow others to gamble and rebound more. With Roberson and Adams’ help around him, look for George to be a First-Team All-NBA defensive player next season. For the Oklahoma City Thunder to contend, that could be paramount.