Rising Indiana Pacers star Paul George will always remain close to Nuggets coach Brian Shaw's heart.

George is off to a stellar start for the Pacers this season, leading the team in points and steals and ranking second in rebounds going into their game Saturday night against Chicago.

Shaw, who coached George the past two seasons, has noticed.

The two have continued to stay in touch, though they are now about 1,100 miles apart, a 16-hour drive on Interstate 70 from Indianapolis to Denver.

"He's ascended, expedited his route to becoming a superstar," Shaw said. "He worked really hard this summer. I still communicate with him regularly, and just tell him the next stage for him is now getting accustomed to playing against double teams and being consistent playing on that level night in and night out. He's doing that."