Ex-'Dog Paul George proving his worth

FRESNO, Calif.

"It's just been a confidence factor," George told Action News. "Early on I wasn't playing and I got down on myself a little bit."

But Pacers President Larry Bird made a coaching change to get the team's young stars, like George, more playing time.

"I thought that Paul was going to be behind a little bit," Bird said at the coaching change press conference last month. "But now that he's playing pretty well I think that he's shown that if you get some confidence, get some time, you're going to get better."

And since the move, the former Bulldog has flourished.

"With the increase in minutes you can't do anything but progress because of that," said George. "That's been the key to my success right now. My teammates give me a lot of support really. When I'm out there they encourage me to keep on going. They'd like to see me do some spectacular plays. Some highlight plays."

And having Bird, an NBA legend, in his corner has erased all confidence problems from the first couple months of the season.

"Having the organization and the president behind you, that just gives you all the confidence in the world," said George. "I talk to Larry a countless amount of times. Just to pick his brain and see what he does to be so great. Larry is definitely someone I look up to and I'm happy to play for him."

And now George will look ahead to the remainder of his rookie season, to ensure his Pacers get back to the playoffs.

"Right now we're sitting in the 8th spot and that's right where we want to be," George said "We want to move up and continue to move up and try to get a better seed. But if we can make the playoffs, that's definitely an increase in production as opposed to last year."

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.