Story soon on ESPN: In a dramatic night of negotiations, Thunder GM Sam Presti leveraged the Clippers and Raptors in trade talks on Paul George. The Clippers ability to deliver an unprecedented pool of picks and PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ruled day.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 6, 2019
The Clippers may very well have the most complete roster in the league as is. They have two superstars in Kawhi and George, while simultaneously having one of the deepest teams in the league. It’s incredible to think that they were able to acquire both stars while still keeping much of the core that took the super team Warriors to 6 games last year. Although Paul George might miss the beginning of the season as he recovers from the shoulder injury that hampered him down the stretch last year, and Kawhi will likely miss stretches of the season for load management, this is a team well equipped to survive without their stars. After the failure of Lob City, the Clippers will be entering another era of contention, led by their two star forwards.
Paul George Fantasy Stats
George was flat out spectacular last season and seemingly took over Russell Westbrook’s role as leader of the Thunder. Although he faded down the stretch, a lot of that can be attributed to his shoulder injury. When fully healthy last year, he was jockeying with James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo for the MVP award. The Clippers figure to be an even better fit for George than the Thunder. His superstar teammate can actually shoot the three ball, and he won’t have to carry such an enormous load defensively. If he can fully recover from the shoulder injury, he has a chance to have another MVP caliber season. His ceiling is a 29 point, 8 rebound, 5 assist, and 2 steal per game season.
Although George undeniably had an incredible season last year, the way it ended leaves room for skepticism. Firstly, his shoulder injury might keep him out for the start of the season. Although that isn’t too big of an issue in real life, it might prove to be damaging to his value in fantasy. Secondly, last year was his first time producing at that level. He’s had stretches and flashes before, but last season was the only season where he consistently played that well. Although he’ll without a doubt be an all star again if healthy, it’s fair to question if his performance last season was an anomaly, not the new status quo. A worst-case scenario for George would be one where he misses an extended stretch at the start of the season and isn’t able to play at the same level as last year. That would likely result in a season where he averages 22 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.5 steals a game.
What to Expect
Paul George is currently ranked as the 3rd best power forward in fantasy and the 14th best player overall. He’s expected to be drafted in the late first round and has an auction value of $42. This is a pretty fair estimate of Paul George’s value. Although he definitely had a breakout season last year, his shoulder injury puts his availability into question, and there’s concern he might not be as productive on his new team. For that reason, it makes sense that he isn’t considered to be in the same tier as players such as Steph Curry or James Harden.
After pulling off an incredibly short rebuild from the Lob City era, the Clippers will once again enter the season with high expectations. It’s assumed that Kawhi will probably be the team’s leader, but considering that he’ll likely try to rest in the regular season to conserve more energy for the playoffs, Paul George may get a chance to take leadership. 4 straight first round exits dating back to his time in Indiana for Paul George has likely put a bad taste in his mouth, and it’s something he’ll be looking to wash out this year. Personally, I think that, after a brief adjustment period in the first month or two, Paul George will find his groove and have another quality season. It may not reach the highs of last year, but it’ll still be All-NBA worthy. I think he’ll put up a stat line of 25 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals a game.
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