Taking a Look at the Eastern Conference’s Five Best Players

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Oct 3, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward

Paul George

(13) dribbles the ball in the second half of the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The New Orleans Pelicans beat the Indiana Pacers by the score of 110-105. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Paul George

I am kind of surprised at myself for putting Paul George after Carmelo Anthony on this list. I’m a huge PG13 fan–any player that changes his number in the middle of his stint with a team for the sole purpose of making a dope nickname is going to be a personal favorite of mine.

And George is the rare two-way superstar that Melo is not. For all his strengths, Melo can’t call defense one of his. It is one of Paul George’s many great qualities, though.

Oct 8, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) drives to the basket against the Orlando Magic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeated Orlando 97-92. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

George does it all. He can score, shoot, dunk, defend, pass and rebound. He’s capable of defending just about any wing player–and LeBron James, leaving him in a selective group of no more than a dozen or so players.

He has a clear defensive advantage over Anthony, but everything else is just not up to snuff with Melo’s incredible numbers. George isn’t as good a scorer or rebounder, and although defense matters it’s not the sole factor in determining player skill.

This is not at all a definitive list, and it will change over time. If PG13 comes back strong and Melo never regains his scoring champion form, then George will be able to move up. But coming off an injury and being thrown into a position he very obviously does not wish to play dampers my expectations for him just a little bit.

But not nearly enough to consider leaving him off of this list. George is a downright great player, and he improves the Indiana Pacers’ offense and defense anytime he’s on the court. It won’t be easy for the Bucks to beat Indiana should Paul George have a healthy bounce back season.

Next: Which Point Guard Is The Fifth Best Player In The East?