COMMENTARY | The Indiana Pacers are seeing a superstar being born right in front of their eyes this season.
Following Paul George's 43-point outbreak in Portland against the Trail Blazers, there are quite a few questions flying around about just how good Paul George really is. One player that seems to be brought up quite a bit in those discussions is James Harden.
Both players are very capable scorers and considered NBA stars, but which is better?
So far this season, their scoring numbers have been almost exact. Paul George is averaging 24.9 points while James Harden has put up 24.5. There isn't too much of a difference in the two players as far as the stats offensively, but they do have different styles of play.
Harden prefers to drive to the rim and draw trips to the free-throw line, while George prefers to score the majority of his points from the field. The edge has to go to Harden when it comes to ball-handling and his aggressiveness in the paint at this point, but Paul George is the much better perimeter and mid-range shooter. Neither player has a big advantage offensively, so it is basically a wash at this time.
Both players have become very capable playmakers for their teammates, but Harden holds a 2.3 assist per game advantage over Paul George. However, that does not necessarily mean that Harden is the better playmaker. Paul George does not have a big man like Dwight Howard to throw the ball up to, nor does he dominate the basketball quite as much. The Pacers have begun putting the ball into George's hands more as the season has progressed, but with five players on the court at all times that are capable of scoring, he doesn't have to have it as much. These two guys are almost the same when it comes to play-making ability, and there isn't anything that makes either one get the advantage.
Defensively, Paul George is one of the best in the NBA. He takes pride in being a great defender each and every possession, while Harden is an average defender. There is no question that Paul George has a big lead over Harden on the defensive side of the basketball. Their numbers are very similar in the steals and blocks categories, but it doesn't take too much film to notice that George is the superior defender despite the statistics.
It's very hard to decide which player is better at this point, especially with both players being so young. The defensive aspect of Paul George's game and the all-around offensive skills that he has gives him the advantage in most debates. James Harden is a star scorer and great playmaker, but most NBA analysts and fans side with Paul George if they had to choose one player.
Statistically, the two players are almost exactly the same player, but it's the little things that Paul George does that set him apart. It is very rare to find a superstar that cares just as much about the defensive side of the ball as he does about scoring the basketball. Paul George is exactly that type of player, which sets him apart.
Evan Massey lives in Indianapolis and has followed the Indiana Pacers for the past 16 years. He has written for many sports websites including ProSportsExtra.com, Hoops-Nation.com, ProFootballSpot.com, and NaptownsFinest.com. Follow Evan on Twitter at @massey_evan.
- Sports & Recreation
- Paul George
- James Harden
- Indiana Pacers