Dirk vs George
The next matchup in our player of the decade bracket brings us to Dirk Nowitzki and Paul George. Two different styles of players who get the job done in different ways. Dirk is a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer and NBA Champion that made a run for the ages during the 2011 NBA finals. George, while he has yet to win a title, was the leader of those Indiana Pacers teams that went toe to toe with Lebron James big three Miami Heat teams. With that said who has the advantage for the player of the decade?
The obvious pro takes us back to 2011. After several years of playoff failures, Dirk and Mavs finally were able to reach the NBA Finals. Standing in their way, however, were Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. The King and Dirk were each seeking their first title and Dirk would not be denied. During the six-game series, Dirk would average 26 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 2 assists on his way to Finals MVP. An upset for the ages this all but sealed Nowitzki’s Hall of Fame career.
Another pro for Dirk is his longevity. He joined Kobe Bryant as the only players to spend their entire 20-year career with one team. Dirk received great love during his farewell tour as he retired following the 2017-18 season. Throughout his time Dirk was the centerpiece for the Mavs and a great all-around leader.
The only real negative with Dirk is that he played a season too long. In 2018 he appeared in 51 games playing 15 minutes a game and averaged just 7.3 points per game. Dallas would finish 24-58. It is tough to see such great players slow down but at least he did go out to the appreciation of the league.
Following the title win in 2011, the Mavs would not win another playoff series during the decade. The last time they made the playoffs was the 2015-16 season where Dirk averaged 18.3 points per game.
Paul George Pros
PG13 entered the league out of Fresno State and this decade saw him emerge as one of the league’s best players. From averaging just 7.8 points per game in his rookie year to being the leader of the Pacers and leading them to the Playoffs George made his mark. The Heat and Pacers would battle three straight years to get to the NBA Finals. Despite the Heat winning all three matchups George established himself as a star in the making. George would spend two seasons in Oklahoma City before moving onto LA this season.
George has made six all-star appearances, won most improved player in 2013, made the NBA All-Defensive First team two times and made All-NBA First Team. Over the last five seasons George has also averaged at least 21 points per game and in Oklahoma City was in MVP talks. One of the league’s best two-way players the sky is the limit for George.
Paul George Cons
While George has emerged as a star he does have his downfalls. The first being is that he has not been able to get his teams to the top. Whether it was losing to Miami or two early playoff exits in OKC George has fallen short throughout the decade. Is he enough to help lead you to a championship? That answer so far has been no.
In the clutch, PG13 has also struggled. On go-ahead shots, he has struggled mightily. with the Pacers, he was 0 for 14 and his Gatorade commercial became more of a joke. He has improved slightly but he will have to be more of a go-to option when the game is on the line.
In this player of the decade matchup, it could certainly go either way. George overall has been the better player. However, with Dirk winning a title and being the more popular player, I expect Dirk to win this matchup and move on.
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