Since the Indiana Pacers have a couple of days off before battling the Lakers of Los Angeles, I wanted to take a look at how each player is performing for the team. You could say by the record, 6-8, most players aren’t performing at their highest level. But I think for the most part, guys are doing as much as they can for the team. Something just isn’t clicking, and hopefully this whole “figure it out” mode can go away soon, and the Pacers can go on a roll. Even winning a few games in a row would be nice. They haven’t put together a three game winning streak yet. This back and forth of winning and losing won’t help the team, so it’s important to get some momentum going. This upcoming four game road trip could say something about how the Pacers should be doing this season. Time to look at each player’s performance this season.
You look over Roy Hibbert’s season so far, and it looks like things are starting to click better for him. His shooting has been off, but for the most part, his game is there. He’s got to make those easy shots go in. He’s been great on the rebounding end, really coming alive with 7 offensive rebounds against San Antonio. I would like for him to be more aggressive like he was in Washington D.C. against the Wizards when he got 20 points. He needs to get that confidence going, and know what he can do in the post more often. No need to come out around the free throw line, but work his game in that low area, and take advantage against the smaller center/power forwards that try to guard him. I look for him to continue his strong effort on the defensive side of things, and help out with his blocking ability. I think good things are coming for Hibbert, and he will show he’s worth that contract he got this summer.
David West has been one of the Most Valuable Players for the Pacers at this point as he just goes out and gets the team what they need. He’ll hit a big shot when needed in the post area. He can get rebounds like no one’s business. He provides a leadership that this team has been missing for the past few years. I hope that somehow he can be convinced to stick around for a few more years this coming summer as he’ll be able to sign with another team if that’s what he wants to do. But for now, we should take pride in having West a part of this team, and I know we’ll see the strong effort he’s put together this season. The fact that we know what we can expect out of West helps this team greatly.
The move to small forward seems to be a good thing for Paul George. He had quite the performance this past Wednesday night as he knocked down 9 three pointers, setting a new franchise record. I know records are meant to be broken, but to think that Reggie Miller’s record got broken is impressive. When it comes to three point shooting, Reggie is the man. But Paul George is showing that he can knock down a three as well. Such a good shooting form for him, that he looks to make it just about each time out. But I would love for him to be more aggressive and drive to the basket more. We all know George can finish at the basket, so I think he really helps the Pacers if he can get to the lane more often. Defensively, he should use his length to alter guys’ shots more often as well. But for the most part, I am happy with how George is coming along this season. I think he’s settling into what he can do for the team this season.
David West is possibly the Most Valuable Player for the Pacers, and I am going to give Most Improved Pacer to Lance Stephenson. We kept hearing about his potential, and I feel like this season that is starting to show. He has made some impressive work in his time with the starters. He seems to give them an energy at times when needed and he can hit a great shot when called upon. It’s a big step up from what he was doing last season as a bench player to being plugged into this starting line up that might have to play a majority of the game. He’s shown at times he was worth the time and effort for the past couple of seasons. I wasn’t a believer of Lance Stephenson until I saw him play some in person last season, and now he’s showing that off even more. I look for continued improvement, and hopefully he can give some great things to the Pacers.
Another guy that has really stepped up along with David West for the Pacers is George Hill. He looks to be in great control of the team while out there. But will also step up and take control of his own plays when it looks to be needed. I think Hill will continue to show that he was worth keeping around. He looks to have found his fit for what he wants to do with the Pacers. There could be the possibility of moving Hill to the shooting guard, but I like him as point guard as it feels more natural to what he can do. Look for him to continue to step up and lead this team as much as he can.
I think for most people, D.J. Augustin has been somewhat of a disappointment. He doesn’t seem to run the bench guys as well as I thought he could. There have been glimpses of his ability. But there’s still more to be desired. He’s not shooting the ball well at all as he’s shooting around 25%, while his career average is 40%. That’s quite a drop off, and can’t be what the Pacers anticipated when bringing him in. He’s got to improve upon that shooting percentage to make the bench the threat that the Pacers want it to be.
You want athletic plays, you get that out of Green. But his basketball sense doesn’t seem to be there, so it’s hard to give him more playing time. He got a shot at playing with the starters, but I think the best fit is playing off the bench. Coming in when that team needs some boost of athletic play. He just can’t seem to find his footing with the team at times though. Just like Sam Young, he needs a role with the team.
The jury is out on Sam Young at times. He’s not been very consistent. But I think he fits best at coming off the bench for some scoring. He’s just around 5 points in 15 minutes of action. I don’t know if there were more expectations out of Young, but for me, he’s still seeking out what he can do for the team. Until something is established, we have a hard time knowing what Young can do for the Pacers. There have been times he’s stepped up to hit a big shot for the team, and that’s something to hang his hat on.
I think Hansbrough has been the key player off the bench. He comes in and provides some energy to the team. He’s even keyed some runs for the team when they were down or help build a lead. We know what we are getting with Hansbrough with his intensity, and that’s really what everyone on this team can use more of. I think he has a role with the Pacers as that hustle guy, and whatever time he gets to play, he makes the most out of it.
I think the Pacers are getting what they expected from Mahinmi, some minutes to give Roy Hibbert a rest. He’s averaging 4 points and 3 rebounds in 13 minutes of play. So there’s not much playing time happening for Mahinmi, but I didn’t think we were going to see that much time for him to play, so whatever he can give in the short time he’s out there, is worth it. He can come in, give some hustle and give Hibbert some rest.
Assigned to the D-League team right now, which is probably saying about where Orlando’s game is. I don’t think we’ve seen enough of him to give an assessment at this point.
He’s come in a few times, but for me, there’s not enough out there to show me what Pendergraph can do for the Pacers at this point.
Like Orlando Johnson, Miles Plumlee got assigned to the D-League team, so I don’t know if the Pacers are expecting much out of it. He was still an odd draft pick, and I am not sure he’ll actually do much for the team at this point.