Most members of the NBA community have counted the L.A. Clippers out of the NBA championship discussion due to Kawhi Leonard’s injury and uncertain time frame for a return.
The prevailing opinion is that Paul George and Kawhi Leonard could do serious damage together.
Everybody’s counting the Clippers out for this season. Even if Kawhi Leonard returns, few have confidence that he and George can finally find the perfect chemistry and surrounding pieces to elevate above the Lakers, Nuggets and other Western Conference favorites.
George is fed up with the disrespect and the sentiment that somehow his 20.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.7 steals per game he’s offered throughout his career isn’t enough.
He let it be known in an interview with the L.A. Times.
Paul George goes off on his haters
“I don't give a shit. That's just how I attack the court now. Like I said, I don't need validation. …90 percent of the people who are critiquing me can't do what I do.”
(Via LA Times) pic.twitter.com/GiJnOPGfjA
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) October 19, 2021
“It’s just an approach where I don’t give a F,” George said about outside criticism. “I don’t give a s—. That’s just how I attack the court now. Like I said, I don’t need validation. I’m my worst critic, and that’s the only thing that matters — the only thing that matters to me.”
George has been a prolific star his entire NBA career, and he’s gone blow for blow with the greatest players of his generation, from LeBron James to Kawhi Leonard to James Harden, you name it.
The 6-foot-8 generational baller from Palmdale, California, has always held his own. He’s now in his 12th season and with a better understanding of how to deal with his mental health and all that being an NBA player requires — the multi-faceted wing has endured injury tragedy, crushing losses and criticisms labeling him an underachiever. Totally ignoring his accolades and Swiss army knife-abilities that benefit his team on both ends of the hardwood.
Criticism of George is often unwarranted, but today’s media-infused narrative doesn’t leave much wriggle room for max-money superstars with tempestuous personalities. If you are considered a top five to 10 player and aren’t a champion or are extremely flamboyant, then you’re flawed and your entire career is crap. It’s very hard for any player to shake that narrative once it gets attached to them.
Return Of Playoff P
PG-13 returned to his “Playoff P” form last year, and he’s already shown us that he can carry a team without Leonard there.
First George torched Donovan Mitchell’s Utah Jazz.
Then he left it all on the court in a dogfight with the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals.
It really should have been his shining moment. A time for the critics to enjoy PG-13 at peak performance, playing with purpose and showing the opposition that he’s the most skilled baller on the court. Instead, most focused on what the Clippers didn’t accomplish and how they would have favored if Leonard had been there. After all, he’s the two-time NBA champion.
Being ringless is the albatross that sits around George’s neck each season. He wanted out of Indiana, so he took a pit stop in OKC with Westbrook and Melo. They didn’t sniff a championship.
Then he teamed up with Kawhi to form the Cali Crew, convinced they had the star power and talent to wrest the city from the Lakers. Steve Ballmer even built a brand new arena for these guys to build their own Clippers empire, but bumps in the road have deprived us from truly seeing them both at their best. PG and The Claw are the Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton of the NBA.
George is the easy target for people to dump the blame on. The fact that the Clippers even have a pulse when it comes to playoff conversation and top-five teams in the conference is a blessing.
The Clips have never won an NBA championship or Western Conference title. They are also the only franchise to have a 30-year playoff drought. The criticism used to bother George, but now he couldn’t care less and has no problem letting the world know it.
— MyClippers 🏴☠️ (@MyClippers) October 19, 2021
That expletive-filled exhale might be just what George needed to have his best season.