Paul George has been exceptionally disappointing and astounding in equal measures these playoffs. Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it. One night, the man plays out of this world for three and a half quarters then loses his mind and the game in the final seconds with a missed free throw or a clanked three-pointer. The next, he'll be so passive you have no idea he's even on the court until he goes nuclear the last five minutes of the game to earn the win.
The inconsistency of it all means the sports media industry/hot-take industrial complex has absolutely no idea what to make of George. Depending on what day you tune in, PG-13 is either the best player left in the playoffs or a burden on the game of basketball and a player that James Naismith himself would be ashamed of. The truth, as it often is, lies somewhere in the middle.
Don't tell Seth Greenberg that, though. It would really take the wind out of his sails. After George dropped a playoff career-high 41 points last night to stave off elimination at the hands of the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals, Greenberg went on ESPN this morning to declare George is actually a top-five player in the entire league and only needed the chance to prove it.
Okay. Let's play this game. Would Seth Greenberg rather have any one of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, and Giannis Antetokounmpo... or Paul George? If anybody, including Greenberg, answers George, I just don't know what to say. I didn't even name James Harden or Nikola Jokic or Damian Lillard or Luka Doncic or Joel Embiid. The list goes on!
The clowning of George reached its apex during the bubble last year and was certainly a bit unfair. George is undeniably a great player whose bad games tend to stand out more because they often come in important moments. He should get his flowers when he shows up as he did last night when his team absolutely, positively needed a win. There does exist a middle ground where we can do that without overstating how good he is in the landscape of the league.
Then again, I'm just shouting into the abyss. I look forward to the narrative overcorrection after the Clippers lose and everyone (maybe even Greenberg) hops on the "Trade Paul George" train. The cycle continues forevermore.