On the June 12 episode of NBA Countdown, hosts Maria Taylor, Jay Williams and Jalen Rose discussed the Clippers roster, along with what the team needed to do in order to mount a comeback down 0-2 against the top-seeded Jazz. Noting George needed a “Herculean” type of performance in Game 3, Williams posed what he deemed to be a “deep” question: Is Paul George a superstar? Rose didn’t miss a beat.
“It’s not deep,” Rose replied. “Paul George is not a superstar. He’s not even the best player on his team.”
George Had Excellent Game 3 After Shaky Start to Series
Whether it can be described as Herculean is debatable, but there’s no doubt George went off in Game 3 and was a huge reason L.A. won its first game of the series, 132-106. George went 12-24 from the floor and 6-10 from beyond the arc, scoring 31 points and dishing out five assists. It was a clutch performance, and an encouraging one after a terrible start to the series. PG went 12-35 from the floor and 5-14 from three-point range prior to his Game 3 outburst.
It’s unlikely his 31-point effort was enough to convince Rose he’s a superstar, though.
“To me, being a great player and an all-NBA performer doesn’t translate to what I consider a superstar,” Rose said. “A superstar means: ‘We’re great because we’ve got you.'” According to Rose, who played 13 seasons in the league, that’s not George. Kawhi Leonard, the panel agreed, is indeed a superstar.
“Paul George needs to have a significant role,” Williams added. “He may not be a superstar, but he’s still a star. Play like a star. And stars are built for these type of moments.” George certainly answered the call in Game 3.
Can George Continue His Game 3 Ways?
“I think I just shot my shots, you know, to get the shots I’m most comfortable with and stuck with,” George said after Game 3. “Simple as that.”
Clippers head coach Ty Lue noted after the game that when George is confident and clicking, the entire team feeds off it.
“Oh, we’re a different team. We know that. It’s been like that all season long,” Lue said when asked how much the hot start from George ignited his squad. “He’s been great. You know, he had one bad game, whatever, but people going to have bad games.”
“I thought PG set the tone early,” Lue added. “After that 8-0 run, I thought he was decisive about what he wanted to do, you know, making plays for us, attacking or shooting the three-point shot. It was a great game for him tonight and we have to keep building off that.”
It’s certainly debatable whether George deserves superstar status, but it seems beyond question that if the Clippers want to get past the Jazz and into the Western Conference finals, they’ll need more of Game 3 PG moving forward.