Former NBA Player Questions Oklahoma City Thunder's Paul George

Rex Walters questions whether Paul George has a winner's mentality – or work ethic

Taz and the Moose
October 30, 2018 - 11:15 am

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With Carmelo Anthony’s departure from Oklahoma City imminent, the Thunder’s Big Three will become a Big Two with Russell Westbrook and Paul George. But can that duo carry Oklahoma City to the NBA Finals? Or at least the conference championship?

Former NBA player Rex Walters has doubts. 

“I don’t think it’s really enough to make a deep run – or at least pass Golden State – but you’re saying that about every team in the NBA,” Walters said on Taz & The Moose. “But if they put the right pieces around those two, I’m a big Russell Westbrook fan. I’m not as big of a fan of Paul George, especially at this stage of his career, but you still have two of the top 20 or 25 players. Russell Westbrook, being a former MVP, they’re going to be a playoff team. Can they make a serious run? I doubt it.”

The Thunder went 48-34 last season and finished fourth in a stacked Western Conference. They lost to the Utah Jazz in the first round in six games, with George having perhaps his worst game of the season in Game 6. He finished with five points on 2-of-16 shooting, including 0-of-6 from three.

“He had some great years in Indiana, they got to a conference finals and he played really well,” Walters said. “I just question a lot of things. I question his willingness to do all the things it takes on a day-in, day-out level to win at a high, high level. That would be my question. I’m pretty opinionated. Some people don’t like it.”

George, 28, averaged 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists last season, but he hasn’t played past the first round of the playoffs since 2014.

“I look at his days at Fresno State – they never went to the NCAA Tournament,” Walters said. “How great of a player can a guy be if he can’t help his team to an NCAA Tournament over a four-year span? So I question his winning characteristics, his mentality – I just don’t know if it’s always there.”