INDIANAPOLIS – The playoffs have been nothing but good for the Pacers’ biggest rising star-and the postseason isn’t even a week old.
After recording the Pacers’ first triple-double in the playoffs in 15 years, Paul George is expected to be named the NBA’s Most Improved Player on Tuesday. The Pacers have called a 10 A.M. news conference for Tuesday where the honor is likely to be bestowed.
This season-George’s third with the Pacers-the forward scored a career-high 17.4 points per game which is five points above his average from the season before. He was critical in helping the Pacers replace forward Danny Granger, the team’s leading scorer the past five seasons who missed the majority of the season with a lingering knee injury.
In the Pacers’ playoff opener against the Hawks Sunday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse George scored a team-high 23 points with 12 assists and 11 rebounds. The triple-double was the first for the Pacers in the postseason since Mark Jackson did so in the 1998 playoffs.
George will become the fourth Pacers player to win the award since it was awarded by the NBA in the 1985-1986 season. Jalen Rose got the award in 2000 with Jermaine O’Neal getting it two years later while Granger got the award in 2009.