This is how strange it sounds to say Paul George will be playing Power Forward: we aren’t even using the word “forward”; someone had to actually invent a new word to make sense of it. Paul George is now a Power Fauxward. Sheesh.
Indiana Pacers Coach Frank Vogel and team President Larry Bird have made George’s move official. There are a couple of reasons for the decision. The team lost its starting Power Forward and Center (David West and Roy Hibbert, respectively) and they gained a new electric Shooting Guard (Monta Ellis). In some ways, this decision makes sense. Paul George is better than any player the Pacers have that would otherwise start at the four spot, small ball is the trend in the league, and a combo of Ellis and George at the 2 and 4 spots will probably be more effective than if they were at the 2 and 3 (see LeBron James and Dwayne Wade 2011 vs. 2012).
“I think the mismatches on the offensive end is far greater than the defensive liabilities sometimes he’ll have against the strength. But I think he can handle it. Paul’s very versatile.”
– Larry Bird, Team President
Paul George is skeptical, and that’s fair. He’s thinking in terms of banging down low all year and fighting for rebounds against guys that are much bigger than he is. For the record, the average size of an NBA Power Forward is 6’9, 230-245 lbs. Paul George is 6’9 220 lbs. He has the height, but the weight might be an issue. Then again, Bill Russell was listed at 6’10, 215 lbs he seemed to do fine against guys like Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and that was before “small ball”.
“I wasn’t extremely thrilled about it when they first presented it to me, but the way the league is going and my playing style, I think I can fit right into it.”
– Paul George
We’ll have to wait and see how this turns out. Bird didn’t say George would only play Power Forward; he alluded to George playing multiple positions, really, so maybe George won’t have to deal with as much muscle as he may be thinking.