If you were asked to name the best all-around player currently in the NBA, few of you (if any at all) would pick Indiana forward Paul George. In fact, there’s even a good chance that unless you’re a Fresno State alum or Indiana native, you probably didn’t even know who the guy was up until recently, when George was named Most Improved Player of the Year in the Association.
Now, whether the second-year player for the Pacers is in fact the best all-around player in the league, we’ll leave that up for debate. But after the tremendous year George had—a year in which he averaged a career high in both points (17.4) and rebounds (7.6), and was the only player in the NBA with at least 140 steals and 50 blocks—surely we can all come to a consensus that the 6-foot-9 swingman has a bright future ahead of him.
As the Pacers try to take a 2-0 series lead against Atlanta in tonight's opening round playoff game, we take a look back at The Sneakers Worn for Paul George's 10 Best Performances This Season.
No. 10 - Nike Hyperdunk+ 2012
Opponent: Chicago Bulls
Stats: 23 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals
If you recall the Nike Asia Tour just prior to the London Olympics last summer, you may remember Paul George making headlines for his head-turning reverse between-the-legs, 360-degree dunk in a pair of the Hyperdunk+ 2012. Well it looks like his love for the Hyperfuse-constructed shoes carried over into the 2012/13 NBA season.
No. 9 - Nike Hyperdunk+ 2012
Opponent: New York Knicks
Stats: 24 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 steals, 1 block
George had yet another clutch performance in the Hyperdunk+ 2012, as his double-double against the Knicks led Indiana to a victory against their rivals. Along with 24 points, George picked up six steals and a block—showing he can get it done on the defensive end too.
No. 8 - Nike Zoom Soldier VI
Opponent: Philadelphia 76ers
Stats: 28 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, 1 steal
George, who spent a lot of time training with LeBron James last summer with Team USA, apparently borrowed a one of LeBron's signature shoes, the Nike Zoom Soldier VI. The Pacers swingman did right by King James, putting up 28 points, 6 rebounds on the Sixers.
No. 7 - Nike Foamposite One
Opponent: Sacramento Kings
Stats: 16 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks, 2 steals
Paul George has an eclectic sneaker rotation—one that features numerous Nike models, including the Foamposite One. During this time last year, George pulled out the “Electrolime” colorway of the Foamposite One. This season, once again channeled his inner Penny and put up a monster double-double against the Kings in the Foamposite One.
No. 6 - Nike Kobe VII
Opponent: Atlanta Hawks
Stats: 29 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal
George grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant. So it's no surprise he has some signature Kobe's in his sneaker arsenal. However, rather than the more recent Kobe 8, George seems to prefer the Kobe VII on game day. Just ask the Atlanta Hawks, who witnessed George drop 29 points on them back in February.
No. 5 - Nike Kobe VII
Opponent: Miami Heat
Stats: 29 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists
Paul George and the Indiana Pacers managed to do something not many teams were able to do this season: beat the Miami Heat. On January 8, George held LeBron in check in the Nike Kobe VII, as the Pacers picked up the win behind a 29-point, 11-rebound performance from their star forward.
No. 4 - Nike Kobe VII
Opponent: Washington Wizards
Stats: 29 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
We noticed somewhat of a trend with Paul George this season. When he wears the Nike Kobe VII, there's a good chance he's going to drop 29 points. Don't believe it? Just back up a couple of slides and read the stat line again.
No. 3 - Nike Hyperdunk+ 2012
Opponent: Houston Rockets
Stats: 31 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals, 1 block
George rocked this Pacers-appropriate colorway of the Hyperdunk+ 2012 in a home game against the Houston Rockets earlier this season. He exploded for 31 points and 6 rebounds, and had another 5+ steal game (his fourth of the season).
No. 2 - Nike Hyperdunk+ 2012
Opponent: Chicago Bulls
Stats: 34 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks
Chicago felt the wrath of Paul George and his Hyperdunks more than once this season. Back in December, George led the Pacers to an 80-76 victory behind a game-high 34 points. The PE Blue colorway was definitely one of the more memorable versions we saw on George's feet this season.
No. 1 - Air Jordan 11
Opponent: New Orleans Hornets
Stats: 37 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal
With LeBron, Penny, and Kobe well-represented, you didn't think George would leave out "His Airness" did you? Laced in a pair of the Air Jordan 11, George broke Reggie Miller’s franchise record for 3-point field goals made in a game with nine at in a 115-107 win against the Hornets back in November. The AJ 11's have become regulars on both the college and pro level. But few players can put it down in them like Paul George can.
Gurvinder Singh Gandu is a New York City-based contributing writer for Yahoo! Sports and Sneaker Report. A California-raised, performance gear and footwear expert, Follow him here to keep up with all things performance.