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The Worst Birthday - Big Board #19

Jan Vesely and his colorful outfit doing what he does.
Jan Vesely and his colorful outfit doing what he does.

Well if pretending the Big Board is a person isn't funny to you, I guess this guy isn't either!

Anyhoo, Oklahoma State shooting guard James Anderson took 21 of the 57 votes for number 18. Hopefully more votes will come in when I introduce the next player to the voting......Paul George.


Paul George, despite having one of the least exciting names known to man, has got scouts and me very excited by his athleticism and shooting. And this. And this. And this. Ok, not the last one but you see where I'm coming from. Unfortunately, I've only gotten to watch him play a (baby's) handful of times so some of this is assisted by Jonathan Givony at DraftExpress, where he does awesome work.

As you can see in the videos (not the last one), Paul is a wiry man. His smooth athleticism reminds me of Trevor Ariza, and he has all the tools to be better than the UCLA alum. First of all, he shot 45% from beyond last season at 4.1 attempts per game, and while that has certainly regressed this year at 36%, it ain't too shabby either. As he has taken more of the offensive duties away from Sylvester Seay, he's gotten to the line a bit more and shot it at a tremendous 91% clip. He did miss four games in late January with a sprained ankle, but with the exception of an odd 0-fer in an ugly loss at San Jose State, he's put up good numbers. He's got a superquick release on his shot that he holds high above his head to stroke it over taller players, making him basically a spot up shooter right now, but as his handles improve, he should be able to pull up off the dribble.

His great length and quickness already make him a good defensive player, but his strength is in question when forced to play down low. As with a number of Big Boardians we've seen pass through these halls (what?) he definitely needs to muscle up before he's a complete player. But right now, he's averaging 2.2 steals per game, putting him in the top 20 nationally in that category. He's one of just two players in the nation, along with Vermont's Marquis Blakely, to average at least 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals per game. He gets rebounds based on athleticism and positioning rather than Dejuan Blair-like ferocity, but at a nice clip for a small forward with skillz.

Paul plays under control and lets the game come to him, but I'd like to see him be more aggressive attacking the basket. The only major area of his game with holes is his ball-handling, which is what's preventing him from taking the ball to the hoop with ease every time he's out there punking people. From all I've read, he's got a great handle of the game especially for a sophomore at a mid-major. He came into Fresno as a 3-star recruit that only got other offers from Santa Clara and Pepperdine, and I can't exactly say why because he put up relatively good numbers in high school (although his 3-point shooting was only around 30%). But the athleticism is certainly there, and he seems like a good kid that could have jumped ship last season but came back to improve his game a bit, and he's certainly done that.

Also, Tanner loves him, so he's got that going for him..... which is nice.

If you want to see bios of the other dudes in the vote (I don't see why you would, since you read the blog everyday RIGHT?!) go here, or just scroll down. Vote 'er done.

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