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Shapiro: Paul George “within striking distance” in MVP race

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Sports Illustrated recently discussed the NBA’s MVP race.

Dallas Mavericks v Oklahoma City Thunder Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

Sports Illustrated’s Michael Shapiro recently discussed the NBA’s 2019 Most Valuable Player race. Breaking the race down into favorites, in striking distance, and dark horses, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George found his way right into the middle of the pack.

Shapiro listed George under the “within striking distance” category. His evolving game was highlighted effectively in the piece, saying that he’s emerged as OKC’s top offensive option, specifically in late-game situations. Much to the surprise of many, George has a higher usage rate at this point in the season than Russell Westbrook.

“The directive has its merits. Indiana’s former headliner has seen an offensive explosion in 2018-19, four points per game above his previous career high. George has canned a career-best 3.4 threes per game, averaging the best effective field goal percentage of his career. He’s been a terror off the catch, an expert at shifting his momentum and careening down the lead after shaking his initial defender. George is a powerful finisher with a silky handle. He’s an expert shot maker with a hand in his face. Oklahoma City once again has a true superstar pairing.”

George is averaging 26.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 4.1 assists through 35 games this season, while shooting 45 percent from the floor.

Check out Shapiro’s full list here.