Paul George is one of the NBA’s most versatile players.
In addition to being supremely talented offensively, he is also as big a menace as you will encounter on the defensive side of the ball. It’s why his assessment of who the toughest player he ever defended was carried so much weight.
Because of that, George is uniquely qualified to offer his take on a debate that has raged in NBA circles over the past few weeks: Luka Doncic’s terrible defense.
With the Dallas Mavericks missing the playoffs altogether in 2023, Doncic’s weakness on the other side of the ball has come under increased scrutiny. Since the NBA All-Star Break the Mavs recorded a 118.0 defensive rating, good for 23rd in the league.
Doncic, for his part, understands that he has been a defensive liability as of late. Last week, he tried to explain why he has been failing on that side of the ball – though his explanation earned mixed reviews.
This week, during his podcast, George offered his two cents on the situation.
“Some people just can’t play defense, and that’s okay,” George said.
“As good as he is offensively, some people just are not gifted defensively and vice versa. Some people are very gifted defensively, offensively, just a little tough. Dennis Rodman, great on defense. That’s not his game.”
George’s take seems to be that it isn’t a matter of Doncic not wanting to play better defense. He simply lacks the ability to do so.
At least Zach Wilson is doing well for himself off the field. https://t.co/hlFld8xEv4
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 12, 2023
Whether that is true or not, this is a problem Dallas will need to figure out in the offseason. Shipping out the team’s best defender in Dorian Finney-Smith for Kyrie Irving and then not replacing him only exposed Doncic’s defensive weaknesses further.
Something will need to change in 2023-24.
Will Doncic be able to get it together and become at least a serviceable player on the defensive side of the ball next year? Time will tell.
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