Reggie Miller: Paul George ‘certainly deserving’ of All-NBA honor

Paul George is holding out hope that he will be voted on an All-NBA team. [Frank McGrath/PS&E]

Reggie Miller believes Paul George deserves to be voted on one of three All-NBA teams. All-NBA teams are one of many awards voted on by a panel of approximately 100 members of the media, in addition to marquee awards like the MVP, Coach of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year.

The Pacers and their fans, along with George, will be eagerly awaiting the results of the ballot with contract implications on the line. Voting concludes Friday, but the results won’t be announced until after the NBA Finals in June.

In short — click here to read about the situation — if George is among the top six forwards in the league this past season, he could add another five years to the final year of his contract for a supermax six-year deal worth more than $200 million.

“Absolutely he’s done enough,” Miller said Thursday on a conference call to preview the NBA Playoffs.

“I thought the Pacers would be better this year. I had them as a top four team [in the Eastern Conference] this year, especially with the new additions. But they’ve faltered, and Paul George faltered early. But if you look at his numbers, especially in the second half [of the season], the reason why the Pacers are playing this well or are even in the seventh spot, is because of Paul George.

“Certainly he is deserving of one of those top three forward spots [in the All-NBA vote]. It’ll be interesting if he does make it, I know there’s numbers attached to it which I do not like. You’re allowing the media to kind of control what’s in your contract, but he’s certainly deserving of that.”

Should he come up just short, and it’s going to be close, there is no monetary advantage for him to stay in Indianapolis. He’s under contract with the Pacers for next season, and he holds a player option in 2018-19, one he intends to turn down so he can take advantage of the growing salary cap, projected to be $102 million next season.

Former player and coach turned TNT analyst Kevin McHale agrees with Miller.

“I think Paul George is deserving,” the Hall of Famer added.

Miller did not have a vote last season and McHale was coaching the Houston Rockets. It’s unclear if they have votes this year.

[Miller and McHale discuss Pacers-Cavaliers and Lance Stephenson]

George’s competition includes LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jimmy Butler, Gordon Hayward — and potentially even Anthony Davis if voted in as a forward rather than a center.

Paul George, who turns 27 on May 2nd, is well-aware of what’s at stake. However, after clinching a playoff spot for the sixth time in his seven seasons as a pro, his focus is on LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

“Man I hope so,” he said. “You’ve got a couple guys that so-called have been ahead of me, who have other guys on that list. I’ve been trying to lead and do it at both ends this whole season. Hopefully they take that into account, especially closing this year out, get us in the playoffs.

“If I make it I do. If I don’t, so be it.”

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