It’s been a whirlwind season for Paul George. Last summer, he was the centerpiece of one of the biggest blockbuster deals of free agency, a move that sent him to Oklahoma City in exchange for what initially appeared to be spare parts. While it seemed terribly lopsided in favor of the Thunder, Victor Oladipo has since turned into an All-Star and, given OKC’s early struggles, some wondered whether the Pacers might’ve gotten the better end of the bargain after all.
Looming large over all of this is both George’s pending free agency next summer and previous reports about his desire to play in his hometown of Los Angeles. Yet throughout the transition to a new team and all the expectations that accompanied it, George has continued to play at an All-Star level and was retroactively awarded that honor over the weekend after DeMarcus Cousins’ season-ending injury.
In addition to averaging 21 points per game, he leads the league in steals at 2.2 per contest and is shooting a career-best 42 percent from behind the arc. OKC has also been on a roll lately, winning seven straight and holding down the No. 5 spot in an unrelenting Western Conference.
We recently caught up with George via telephone while he was on set filming a new ad for Gatorade Flow, and the Thunder star opened up about what he learned from his devastating leg injury, why there’s so much tension on the court this season, how the movie Saving Private Ryan taught him leadership, and more.