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Sounds of Thunder: Westbrook makes lasting impression on Paul George

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A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. - Walter Winchell

A true friend is the one that stands with you and picks you up when the rest of the world is pushing you down. - R.K. Anthony
Layne Murdoch @ Getty Images

Good day, Thunder Nation!!

The All-Star snub on Paul George has been a subject for debate since the announcement that the former Pacer and 4-time All-Star was not awarded a spot on the Western Conference reserve roster this year.

I am not here to join that argument even though I think George, who leads the league in steals and is making a serious run at the Defensive Player of the Year award not to mention hitting a career-high 42.2% of his three-point attempts, was highly deserving. The fact that Paul George was not named as a reserve, the reserves being selected by coaches, only proves that NBA coaches, no matter what they say, are almost as guilty as most fans at underestimating the value of great defensive play.

That said, there is a possible upside to all this.

In the aftermath of the news that George was left off the reserve list, Russell Westbrook didn’t hesitate to speak out in support of his new teammate:

The disingenuous out there may think it was easy for Westbrook to say the things he did because he made the cut but having watched him closely for a decade I know better. I believe Westbrook would have said the same words, with the very same conviction, even had he not received a single All-Star vote.

Every relationship we have in life come to crossroads that either strengthen the bond of friendship or weakens it. Westbrook’s willingness to put himself out there in defense of a teammate made a clear, and apparently lasting impression on Paul George:

Obviously, for anyone not living under a rock, the decision Paul George spoke of was where he’ll be playing this time next season. Personally, I, as someone who believes the eyes are the mirror to our soul that can help us gauge the truth of someone’s words, think the needle just moved toward Paul George wearing Thunder blue next year in a big way.

According to M.Farouk Radwan, author of several self-help books and founder of 2knowmyself.com, a person’s eyes will generally move lower-left when accessing their feelings. Consistency is the key and every time George spoke about his feelings his eyes moved lower-left. It would help had the questioner asked something like “how do you feel about your Mom or your Dad” to show which direction George looks when he is speaking truthfully, but other factors such as George’s relaxed posture and how forthcoming his answers came are strong indicators he spoke from his heart.

Were I faced with Paul George’s decision this summer, who I went into battle with would weigh much much heavier than where the battle was fought. Just over 5 months remain between now and the beginning of the 2018 NBA free agency period. There is a ton of basketball to play with many hurdles along the way, but just as George saying not making his 5th All-Star appearance “is what it is”, Westbrook’s willingness to stand up and speak out also “is what it is”, a clear sign of someone willing to stand by your side when life’s crossroads take a bad turn.

It matters.

Poll

How much do you think Russell standing for Paul George will affect PG’s free agency decision this summer?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Sealed the deal in favor of the Thunder.
    (41 votes)
  • 64%
    Will weigh heavily, but not be the only deciding factor.
    (140 votes)
  • 10%
    Very little affect.
    (23 votes)
  • 5%
    I don’t believe a word coming out of George’s mouth, he was gone before he ever left the plane in OKC.
    (12 votes)
216 votes total Vote Now