Minutes Per Game: 25.5
The Indiana Pacers have not had many rays of sunshine this season. When even the Washington Wizards have a better offense than you (just one-tenth of a point, but still), things are not looking up.
Unexpected starter Lance Stephenson has not been a part of the problem, however.
With Danny Granger sidelined for the foreseeable future, Stephenson has stepped into the starting lineup and generally played well. After David West, he has the highest shooting percentage of the players in Indiana's rotation, and he leads the team in three-point accuracy.
Moreover, he brings an ability to create off the dribble in the half court and push the ball in transition on a team that lacks dynamic ball-handlers. He does overdribble at times, but he has generally brought a unique quality to an offense that is often stagnant and slow to initiate its sets.
The lineup data bears this out.
Stephenson has been a part of the team's four best five-man scoring units. Meanwhile, the other players in coach Frank Vogel's 10-man rotation who compete with Stephenson for minutes—Sam Young and Gerald Green—have each spent more than half their time in lineups that can't even produce 100 points per 100 possessions.
The most damning evidence that Stephenson should be getting a larger allotment of the minutes Vogel divides among these three players is how they have performed alongside the team's four definitive starters (George Hill, Paul George, David West and Roy Hibbert).
With Stephenson, the lineup hasn't scored well, producing just 100.7 points per 100 possessions. But if you sub in Green, the numbers turn from bad to terrible: 91.9 points per 100. And when Young is on the court, it has been downright abominable: 85.6 points per 100.
Stephenson is not the end-all, be-all of NBA players. As the team's starting 2 guard, he also is already playing more than half the game (25.7 mpg).
But Vogel needs to understand just how badly his team is performing when Green (21.9 mpg) and Young (16.8 mpg) enter the lineup.
It is likely no coincidence that Stephenson has played more than 27 mpg in Indiana's nine wins and just 24 in their nine losses. Until Granger returns, the Pacers need to shorten the rotation and play Stephenson more.
He is only 22 years old. He can handle the extra wear and tear.