Pacific Notes: George, Kings, Wiggins, Lakers

Paul George will see an increased workload this year, but it may not start with Monday’s preseason opener, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. As George enters the first year of his contract extension, the Clippers will count on him to provide more scoring, defense and leadership with Kawhi Leonard possibly out for the season. However, coach Tyronn Lue hasn’t decided who will play in the first preseason game, saying he wants to talk to “a couple of our guys and just kind of see how they feel.”

George, who dealt with a bruised bone in his right foot during the second half of last season, pronounced himself “pretty healthy” at Saturday’s practice. He told reporters that he took “a lot of time” away from basketball during the summer in anticipation of his increased workload.

George has also become more of a team leader, working out with several teammates during the offseason.

“I’ve grown in that area, just from the standpoint of being a little more vocal, and just wanting to be involved, wanting to put things together,” George said. “I definitely see myself growing in that area. But, again, all of it really came down to it just being organic. Fact of the matter, I like missed being around this group.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kings coach Luke Walton is reviewing his options for a starting lineup ahead of his team’s preseason opener Monday, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Richaun Holmes and Harrison Barnes appear set, according to Anderson, so Walton’s decision will likely come down to whether he wants to start Buddy Hield in a three-guard approach or Marvin Bagley III in a more traditional set. Walton’s options stem from Barnes’ ability to handle either forward position. “There are definitely scenarios where (Barnes) could start at the 3 or the 4,” Walton said. “He’s one of those players that has the ability to do both of those things. He’s a matchup nightmare when he’s at the 4 and him and De’Aaron are able to play that 1-4 pick-and-roll, peel-out game, and he’s strong enough to guard a lot of 4s, so that’s definitely a possibility.”
  • Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle examines whether Andrew Wiggins‘ vaccine decision could derail the Warriors‘ hopes of being title contenders. Wiggins missed Saturday’s practice with an undisclosed illness, and coach Steve Kerr said there was nothing new to report on his vaccination status.
  • Former WNBA player Shay Murphy has joined the Lakers as a coaching associate, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
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