Starter: Paul George
Depth: Alex Abrines
Not to be too sentimental and all, but Paul George chose Oklahoma City over every other city in the league. He chose Westbrook over any other running mate. Maybe it can all work out. If not, perhaps they can win our hearts.
Paul George’s trajectory once had him on a collision course with LeBron James, and while both now play in the Western Conference, the rivalry has cooled. He’s not necessarily any worse of a basketball player than he was then, but his star has dimmed. Yes, there was the devastating injury, but that is largely in the rear view. He’s just turned out to be otherworldly only some of the time. Still, in many ways, he’s an ideal running mate for Westbrook. He can be a forty percent shooter from behind the arc, so he can play off the ball. He’s athletic. He can defend. He doesn’t mind second billing. These are all good things.
He also tends to play better in the postseason. His last two seasons in Indiana he averaged 27.3 and 28.0 points per game. He also shot over forty percent from three during those campaigns. Last year, in Oklahoma City’s one series against Utah, he averaged 24.7 points, but he shot 36.5 percent from three. He was very good in many respects, but he has to be better in all respects. Oklahoma City lost the series, and it wasn’t that competitive.