With all the talk about LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, don’t forget about Paul George as a possible fit for the Sixers.
A report Thursday said that George will in fact opt out of his deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder and become an unrestricted free agent.
The Sixers — along with the Rockets — are reportedly interested in George’s services, according to ESPN. The Lakers have been the favorite to land the Palmdale, California native dating back to last season when George was still with the Pacers. There’s also a very real chance that George decides to re-sign with the Thunder.
With all that said, George does make a ton of sense for the Sixers. A five-time All-Star, George just turned 28 last month. He’s a long, athletic wing that is an excellent shooter and excels on both ends of the floor. What do the Sixers need? A long, athletic wing that is an excellent shooter and excels on both ends of the floor.
George is not James, arguably the greatest player to ever play basketball. Nor is he Leonard, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year that affects the game just as much on the offensive end of the floor. But as far as consolation prizes go, George is a damn good one.
When we talk about fit, George may actually be the most seamless piece to mesh with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Out of the three superstar targets, George is the best shooter. Looking at just their percentages, Leonard has been slightly better from three (39 percent Leonard, 38 percent George), but George has taken over two attempts more per game during his career. Last year, George shot 40 percent from distance on a ridiculous 7.7 attempts a game. James has improved significantly as a shooter, but is not on the level of either.
What also makes George a fit is the point guard he played with last season. There isn’t a more ball-dominant player in the league than Russell Westbrook. Yet George put up numbers pretty consistent with his career averages. He also had to share the ball with the mostly ineffective Carmelo Anthony. Imagine George with a much more efficient Simmons and a way more impactful Embiid.
Chances are George winds up in L.A. or back in Oklahoma City, but if he’s willing to listen to a pitch from the Sixers, they’d be wise to make one.