Paul George was expected to help Kawhi Leonard take the Los Angeles Clippers at least to the Western Conference Finals this season but none of that happened, mainly because of PG’s struggles during the playoffs. He didn’t start this postseason the best way, having bad games against the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. His 2020 postseason didn’t finish any different, as PG had a terrible game against the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of the second round.
Despite his bad game, George was confident that the team could turn things around and come back stronger next season. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, PG addressed his teammates after that infamous Game 7, asking teammates to remain committed to the team and the project. Charania reports that those words didn’t sit well with some players, who were unhappy with George’s performances during that game.
For his part, Paul George had a disappointing series against Denver, and had several moments that left him in compromising positions with his teammates — beyond just his production. Multiple teammates had verbal spats with George throughout the postseason, citing in their exchanges a lack of accountability from him.
In the postgame locker room Tuesday night, George was preaching to teammates to remain committed, for all the players to return to the team this offseason and stay ready to make another run. It was met by some eye rolls and bewilderment, sources said, because George did not back up his words with action in the series and the team has multiple free agents with decisions to make. George scored 10 points on 4 of 16 shooting and 2 of 11 from 3-point range in the Game 7 defeat.
“We can only get better the longer we stay together and the more we’re around each other,” George said after the game. “I think that’s really the tale of the tape of this season. We just didn’t have enough time together.”
It will be interesting to see how the Clippers will approach this situation in the offseason. They have several key decisions to make and several players can leave the team in free agency. It will be a very moved offseason for the Californians if they want to carry the tag of favorites once again after a season where they collapsed when it mattered the most.
PG is apparently staying put in LA and it looks like Kawhi, too. Now it’s up to the front office to try to assemble a team that can actually get past that second round.