I shouldn’t have waited. I should have stepped up and said, “Yes JB, I’ve waited 30-some-odd years of my life to get on an airplane because I’m afraid that there really could be a gray furry monster who destroys it while we’re 30 thousand feet in the air”. Looking back I fear perhaps I may not have been too logical in my thinking and now I have to carry that regret with me for the rest of my life. Like when I didn’t go to Mexico with JB for spring break. Even though I never really heard any stories because he claimed he ‘couldn’t remember anything’, he came back with obvious aversions to Tequila, guacamole, the word ‘labradoodle‘, and giant black dildos. Don’t ask how I know, I wish I didn’t. Or when he did that semester abroad. He told me about going hostel to hostel, meeting new people and learning new things everyday. If I would have gone with him then I probably would have learned why he gets so strange whenever he hears someone speaking Dutch. He gets this big smile on his face and his eyes gloss over like he’s catatonic. If you want to break him out all you have to do is say ‘labradoodle’ and you can tell from the look on his face that whatever day dream he was having immediately turned into a nightmare.
I assume by now you’ve read the title and are asking yourself, ‘Self, why am I reading about Paul George for fantasy?’ Pretty simple really… because I wrote it before his injury. Doh! I shouldn’t have waited but I wanted to make sure Melo was going back to New York and then I had to wait on Lance to sign and then… So what do I do with it? Throw it away? Well it’s just a bunch of 0’s and 1’s in a computer somewhere and I don’t know where so that wasn’t an option. I figure I’ll post it, face the furry monster, and catch the next flight anywhere. So here it is, Paul George v Carmelo Anthony unaltered and I hereby challenge you to find a more pointless post for fantasy basketball the rest of the year:
Carmelo is a career 45.5% shooter and last year he shot 45.2% on 21.3 attempts per game, so he hit his mean and it was nearly identical for both the percent and attempts as the year before. Paul George is a career 42.8% and last year he shot 42.4% on 17.0 attempts. While it’s nice to see the attempts go up by 2 per game from the year before to help out his points, it’s actually a negative in terms of helping our FG%.
Melo actually shot a little better, 46%, in the second half last year but even with the installation of the triangle offense there shouldn’t be much change from his career percent. George unfortunately did the opposite, shooting under 40% in the second half helping to lead the Pacers to a much publicized abysmal finish. There should be some slight improvement next year if the Pacers can fix their issues so we’ll go ahead and predict 43.5% for Paul George, but still Anthony wins this category handily.
George saw a sharp increase in FT attempts going from 3.5 in ’12-’13 to 5.8 last season and on an immaculate 86.4%. Even better though was an increase by 1 attempt per game in the second half compared to the first. Melo has always been a stalwart in FT% and last year was no different with 7.0 attempts per game on 84.8% shooting, but those attempts are actually nearly a career low.
As Melo ages, as most players age, the jump shots tend to go up and the FT attempts tend to go down. I don’t think Carmelo will be any different. For next year I’ll predict 83% on 6.5 attempts per game, which of course is still very helpful. I think George continues in the positive direction and I feel comfortable predicting 84% on 6.5 attempts. That is absolutely negligible so FT% is a push.
With Paul George averaging 2.25 3-PTM per game over the past 2 seasons you would think he would easily overtake Melo in this category, but over the past 2 seasons Anthony has altered his game to take almost as many 3-Pt attempts as George and over that span has even tied him in makes per game.
I see no reason why they both don’t make 2.2 3-pointers per game again. Maybe a slight and I do mean ever so slight advantage for George but for me this is another tie.
We all know Melo is a scorer and at 27.4 points per game last year he ranked second overall and shows that he’s still improving on his 25.3 PPG career average. George also saw a marked improvement with a career high 21.7 PPG.
Since the triangle offense is predicated on a superstar putting up a ton of shots I don’t see too much change for Melo and 27 PPG feels like a reasonable assumption. With Paul George still improving, and assuming the FG% doesn’t hover around his 2nd half 40%, 23 PPG should be attainable. But that isn’t nearly enough to catch Carmelo so Anthony takes another.
We all know Melo had a career high 8.1 boards per game last year, 0.5 a board better than his previous high and a full 1.5 boards over his career average. In the 2nd half, nearly mirroring the return of Tyson Chandler, those boards came back down to 7.1 per game. Paul George saw a decline in boards, 6.8 per game, even though his center was atrocious at rebounding. However in the 2nd half George came back up to 7.9 per game, slightly higher than his previous years 7.6.
With Melo winning this category so easily this past season some might immediately chalk this one up for him. I’m not so easily persuaded. With Tyson Chandler gone maybe Melo stays at 8.0 boards per game, but I think Carmelo should return closer to his career average. A prediction around 7.0 boards per game should still leave a little bit of wiggle room but ultimately I think that’s on the high end. As for George, Lance Stephenson is a stats whore so as long as he’s around it will be difficult for Paul George to get too many more than 7.0 boards per game. What’s that you say? Lance is no longer a Pacer. Then I think we could very well see a career year in boards, but I’ll still be a little conservative. I’m going with 6.8 for Melo and 7.4 for George and George finally, yet slightly, wins a category.
Melo gave 3.1 APG, his career average is 3.1 per game, can you guess what I’m going to predict for next year? George saw a slight decline from the year before, once again I blame this on Lance, but 3.5 per game from a wing is still very good.
Did you guess I would project 3.1 APG from Melo? Well it was a trick question, with the triangle offense taking the ball out of the point guards hands I’m going to go with 3.5 APG for next year. Is Lance still a Pacer? Did they bring in a point guard? Then 4.3 assists per game for George is my projection/prediction/guess/that’s where my dart hit when I through it at the dart board of assists. Of course I have a dart board of assists I throw at when making a projection. I thought you knew that. Even with the idea of Melo getting an uptick in assists I’m still giving this category to George.
Finally the reason we consider Paul George in the 1st round in the 1st place, 1.9 steals per game is special and good enough to tie him for 4th overall. Anthony on the other hand has never been a big steals guy but the 1.2 he had last year, even though slightly over his career average and the most he’s had since ’09-’10, proved to be plenty serviceable.
Paul George is a young, elite athlete and another slight improvement could put him right at 2.0 per game. I can’t buy into Melo getting 1.2 SPG again so backing him down to 1.0 feels much safer. Until now Anthony had been winning this comparison easily. Does the 1.0 extra steal per game make up for it? It’s close… we’re going to find out in approximately 2 minutes.
Melo with 0.7 blocks (I’m not sure if the word, ‘block’ is supposed to be singular or plural there. Little help from the editor here maybe.) per game, a career high, and George with 0.3 block(s) per game, a career low.
Since both have a career average of… a half a block per game and with Melo now over 30 years old and George at 24 I feel comfortable predicting 0.5 for both and yes, another tie.
Anthony used to be much worse but 3 straight years at 2.6 turnovers per game makes it look like his turnovers have normalized. George with 2.8 and 2.9 the year before shows some, all be it very little, improvement.
Carmelo should get 2.6 per game and George will probably stay pretty close to 2.8 per game. Not much of a difference really.
So an early side-by-side prediction would look something like this:
FT%, 3-PTM, Blocks, and Turnovers are either tied or the difference is negligible.
Anthony takes FG% and Points
George takes Steals, Assists, and Boards slightly
Here we are the back-end of the 1st round or maybe even the beginning of the 2nd round in our fake 12er, 9-cat, H2H league and we have to make a choice. Does .020 FG% and 4.0 PPG make up for a full 1.0 steal per game and maybe 0.5 a board and 0.5 an assist? Lets take a look at the other elite steals guys. Chris Paul, Ricky Rubio, Thaddeus Young, Corey Brewer, Michael Carter-Williams, Jimmy Butler, Russell Westbrook and John Wall all averaged 1.8 steals per game or higher, and next year I think we could add Victor Oladipo and Kawhi Leonard to this list. Westbrook and Wall are the only 1st rounder point guards to possibly pair either Anthony or George with and due to both point guards having poor FG% I would be hard pressed to recommend pairing either with Paul George. The others on this list can mostly be had in the 4th-5th round (at least in my rankings), besides Kawhi, and they all shoot a poor FG%, besides Kawhi, so pairing them with George would again be difficult to recommend due to the hit to FG% so I think they would create a more well rounded team with Melo instead.
Now what if we paired one of our 2 wings with a big, like DeMarcus Cousins, LaMarcus Aldridge, or even Al Jefferson or Al Horford? Due to Aldridge’s poor FG% and our already very high FT%, I would have to recommend pairing one of the other bigs with one of our wings. If paired with Cousins then turnovers will be extremely high and we won’t even have our point guards yet, that’s kind of risky. If punting turnovers is your thing (it is mine) then I believe the ideal pairing for Cousins would be with Melo since Cousins is a high end steals guy for a big. So that leaves Horford and Jefferson as our final potential targets and this will leave us without a point guard in the 1st 2 rounds (this is not going to be a recommendation of mine). These guys aren’t elite scorers or steals guys but since they give high FG% I believe they would pair better with Paul George so that we won’t be forced into searching for high steals point guards in the later rounds.
So this didn’t turn out as obvious as we would like but we learned that each of these two wings have both advantages and disadvantages and which we choose depends on who we pair them with. For me neither will be someone I target with my 1st round pick. I would take Wall, Westbrook, Serge Ibaka (I think this would be obvious), and even Cousins over these two and then take whichever of these wings falls to me. Finally, Carmelo hasn’t been the poster child for health over the years so there is some risk there. Is it enough to dissuade me from drafting him over Paul George in the right situation? No.