By his own admission, Paul George is coming for Russell Westbrook’s MVP award.
Granted, he didn’t put this pursuit in those terms. The topic was broached during his appearance on NBA TV, and George took the “I’m going for it” approach:
— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 16, 2017
The initial reaction: What the heck else is he going to say? Superstars are competitive. They want to be the best. George is entering a contract year. He’s taken a lot of flak, from afar, about where he stands inside the pantheon of this era’s greatest talents. What’s wrong with having this kind of goal? It shows the Oklahoma City Thunder he’s preparing to ball out for them, and Westbrook doesn’t have special ownership to the MVP trophy. He’s the reigning beholder. That’s it.
Plus, this isn’t a one-on-one competition, merely between them. Plenty of others name will be put into the conversation.
At the same time, something about this feels weird. Or maybe it doesn’t. Whatever. But Westbrook did just win the MVP award, and perhaps George declaring his intention to go Maurice Podoloff Trophy-hunting isn’t the best sign. The idea that it could lead to a rift with Westbrook is a non-issue. Players compete, even internally. But to have him actively chase that award, during his first year with a new team, doesn’t infer long-term commitment.
Forced to choose, we roll with this being innocuous. We can’t deem a star’s ambitious goal that would end up benefiting his team to be a detrimental or half-thought pursuit.
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