Most Improved Player Rankings: Week 12

My momma always told me never to trust a man with two first names.

It’s one of those unwritten rules she passed down, like: Never wake up a homeless man, or never let Antoine Walker co-sign your lease.

Indiana’s Paul George is making momma look wise (what else is new). He’s also making it tougher on those members of society who have two first names and aren’t dangerous. George has been downright disagreeable this season, putting up 17.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

He should be an All-Star when the reserves are announced on Thursday.

Beyond that, he’s made Pacers fans forget about Danny Granger, and the rest of the league forget that brief period when Indiana didn’t have a go-to guy. The thing about George is that he’s done whatever the Pacers have needed him to do this season. He can score (he’s put up 37, 34, 31, and 29 this season), but he’s also capable of playing lock-down defense, grabbing double-digit rebounds or dishing out Greivis Vasquez-like assist numbers.

In his last two games, George has hung 31 on the Rockets, and picked up a utilitarian 12 points, 10 boards and 9 assists against the Grizzlies. He’s recorded a double-double in six of his last seven games. Like MTV’s “Buckwild”, he’s been better than anyone ever imagined.

You’ve got to hand it to Larry Bird. The now-retired Pacers president drafted both Granger and George in the middle of the first round. Neither player was that highly regarded coming out of college, yet Larry Legend nailed it on both of them. The man is incredible. He may be the best combination of player, coach, and executive in NBA history. He truly is a wily old son of a gun.

And before we go any further, I just wanted to express the sadness I felt upon hearing that the Sacramento Kings may go the way of Manti Te’o’s girlfriend after this season. I loved those Kings teams of the late ’90s and early 2000’s, and they were a huge part of the reason why I became a basketball fanatic. Heck, Vlade Divac helped me win the 8th grade class presidency. (That’s a story for another day).

Both Sacramento and Seattle deserve to have teams. The good folks in Sactown have fought too hard, care too much, and have been through too much not to keep their Kings.

Here’s hoping that the NBA can figure out a way to make that happen.

On to the rankings.


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