The verdict is out on the 2012-13 Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers finished 49-32, copping their first Central Division Championship since 2003-04 and locking up the third playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
Of course, the team never would have made it this far without the valuable contribution of each individual component. That being said, it's time to size up each Indiana Pacer and hand out grades for the 2012-13 NBA regular season.
For the purposes of this article, each player will be graded on the basis of his 2012-13 NBA regular season statistics which include:
- Field goal percentage
- Three-point percentage
- Free throw percentage
Were Jeff Pendergraph's on-court contributions enough to overshadow the introduction dance he's known for at Pacers games?
Was D.J. Augustin consistent enough to earn him a passing mark?
Was Paul George's breakout season sufficient to earn him top honors among his teammates?
Let us not waste any more time in finding out.
Danny Granger played in only five games in 2012-13 due to a left knee injury.
Field goal percentage: .286
Three-point percentage: .200
Free throw percentage: .625
Danny Granger did not play in all but five games in 2012-13 as he had to cope with a left knee injury. He was reinserted into the lineup in late February but aggravated this injury on March 3 in a 97-92 win against the Chicago Bulls.
He never got into a solid groove and wound up with career lows in virtually every statistical category.
Indiana Pacer fans can only hope he will be the Danny Granger of old when he reports for training camp for the 2013-14 season.
Miles Plumlee saw very limited action in his rookie year.
Field goal percentage: .238
Three-point percentage: .000
Free throw percentage: .750
Miles Plumlee, a 6'11" rookie center out of Duke University with a vertical leap of 41 inches, was observed in pre-draft workouts to have good quickness in the post.
He never got to utilize his skill set in his rookie year, often finding himself languishing at the end of the Pacers' bench.
Just like any rookie, he has to earn his stripes. If he can show the patience which Jeff Pendergraph has, he will also get a chance to shine in the next few seasons.
Ben Hansbrough never really got it going in 2012-13.
Field goal percentage: .333
Three-point percentage: .261
Free throw percentage: .778
Ben Hansbrough, Psycho T's younger brother, didn't make that much of an impression in his rookie year. He played in only 28 games averaging two points, 0.8 assists and 0.6 rebounds per outing.
He still needs to work a lot more on his outside game and his playmaking skills. He's also a liability on defense.
In much the same way as Miles Plumlee, Hansbrough still has to earn his stripes. With hard work comes more playing time. With more playing time comes a chance to prove one's self.
Let's hope this is the road he chooses to take next season.
Gerald Green was a major disappointment in 2012-13.
Field goal percentage: .366
Three-point percentage: .314
Free throw percentage: .800
Your heart has to go out to Gerald Green.
For a player with so much potential, he failed to live up to expectations in 2012-13.
The high-flying tandem of Paul George and Green that Indiana Pacer fans were salivating for? It was more of a Paul George show all throughout.
Green also has a maddening propensity to play out of the mold in which he was created—he usually settles for the three-point shot rather than driving down the lane which he can be so good at.
The result of his inconsistency? A 7.0 points-per-game average, almost a six-point drop-off from his production with the Nets a season earlier.
Had he been more productive, he would have played in more games rather than piling up on his DNP statistics.
The only thing that prevented him from getting a lower grade is his upside.
Did the Indiana Pacers waste $3.5 million in salary judging from Green's performance in 2012-13?
The answer is a resounding yes.
D.J. Augustin was another major disappointment during the regular season.
Field goal percentage: .350
Three-point percentage: .353
Free throw percentage: .838
D.J. Augustin was another off-season acquisition who was expected to come on strong as George Hill's main reliever off the bench.
The Pacers were also hoping Augustin would produce similar respectable numbers as he did when he donned a Charlotte Bobcats uniform.
Instead, he was one of the main reasons why the Indiana Pacers have one of the weakest benches in the NBA.
He averaged career lows in scoring (4.7), rebounds (1.2), assists (2.2), steals (0.4) and field goal percentage (.350). To think he averaged 6.4 assists in 2011-12 proves his capability as a playmaker has dwindled considerably.
Yet another waste of a $3.5-million pickup for the Indiana Pacers.
Sam Young was signed mainly for his defensive prowess.
Field goal percentage: .392
Three-point percentage: .308
Free throw percentage: .535
Sam Young wasn't expected to produce big numbers in 2012-13. His main role was to make his presence felt on the defensive end.
When called on, Young can deliver. He showed some potential in spelling Paul George off the bench when guarding the opposing team's best wing scorer.
However, this hasn't been enough to put him in clutch situations as a premier defender. George is head and shoulders above everybody else in his position on the roster. While Young can also knock down the occasional three-pointer, he still remains a below-average free throw shooter.
With the expected return of Danny Granger in the 2013-14 season, look for Young's minutes (12.2 in 2012-13) to dwindle even further.
That is, if he still is with the Indiana Pacers next season.
Rookie Orlando Johnson showed some flashes of brilliance during the regular season.
Field goal percentage:.400
Three-point percentage: .383
Free throw percentage: .719
The rookie with the sweet stroke, Orlando Johnson simply showed a lot more promise than fellow first-year players Miles Plumlee and Ben Hansbrough.
This was evident when he scored a career-high 15 points in a 100-94 victory against the Atlanta Hawks on March 25. Had he played in more games or logged more minutes per outing, he would have scored 20 on a few occasions.
He also runs the floor well and seemingly has that teachable attitude and work ethic which will help him make major strides in ensuing seasons.
But for now, he is still very much a work in progress.
Ian Mahinmi's role was to back up Roy Hibbert at the 5 spot.
Field goal percentage: .453
Three-point percentage: .000
Free throw percentage: .608
Ian Mahinmi's main role in 2012-13 was to provide championship experience and depth at the center position behind Roy Hibbert. During Hibbert's early season struggles, he tried to fill in. The effort was there, but he simply is not seen as a scoring threat.
In spite of this, Indiana still went 32-21 prior to the All-Star Game.
When Hibbert rediscovered his shooting touch after the All-Star break, Mahinmi scored in double digits just once and even managed to not score at all in four outings. On the bright side, he does possess a decent mid-range game when he's on.
In the 16.3 minutes of action he saw each outing, he also showed some promise as an athletic rebounder and defender.
Mahinmi did his best, but he could have done better.
Jeff Pendergraph stepped up when called upon in 2012-13.
Field goal percentage: .484
Three-point percentage: .500
Free throw percentage: .913
It turns out Jeff Pendergraph, a power forward who can also play center, is more than just his pre-game introduction antics.
Pendergraph may not have better statistics than his other teammates, but the one reason he's gone this far is his contribution in terms of the intangibles. He's a Pacer who's made in the mold of his retired namesake, Jeff Foster (although Pendergraph is not as good a rebounder Foster was).
Need somebody to take a charge? Pendergraph will (ask Kyrie Irving).
How about someone who is willing to play some lockdown defense down low? He's sure to take on the task.
Paul George or George Hill needing a solid screen? Pendergraph to the rescue.
With his performance in 2012-13, it seems Pendy (as his teammates call him) can give Ian Mahinmi a run for his money as Roy Hibbert's primary backup at the 5 spot in 2013-14.
Tyler Hansbrough continues to put up respectable yet unspectacular numbers for the Pacers.
Field goal percentage: .432
Three-point percentage: .000
Free throw percentage: .720
The enigma that is Tyler Hansbrough.
In 2012-13, Hansbrough put up better numbers as a starter than he did as David West's chief reliever off the bench.
Consider this: when West sat out six games from March 18-27, Hansbrough put up stellar numbers to the tune of 14.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game on 48-percent shooting from the field. The Indiana Pacers went 5-1 during that stretch.
That was Hansbrough's most significant contribution to the squad during the regular season. Had it not been for that, the Pacers may not have been in contention for the third playoff seed at all.
In other words, just like Pendergraph, he stepped up when he needed to.
His stats for the entire season are modest and nothing really to crow about. He also needs to polish his mid-range game some more.
However, Hansbrough's energy and gung-ho style of play make up for these. After all, these are some of the things that really endear him to his teammates and fans alike.
Indianapolis native George Hill played his first full season as starting point guard for the Indiana Pacers in 2012-13.
Field goal percentage: .443
Three-point percentage: .368
Free throw percentage: .817
George Hill enjoyed a career-year in 2012-13 which was played mainly out of the spotlight.
He quietly put up good numbers, seeing his scoring, rebounding and assist totals increase during the regular season. Hill can definitely make it happen on the offensive end: he can score from the outside as well as penetrate at will.
He also stepped it up on the defensive end, establishing a career-high 1.1 steals per game.
More importantly, he also proved he has the toughness and leadership skills necessary to excel as the Indiana Pacers' starting point guard, a role he earned after the team traded Darren Collison during the offseason.
Roy Hibbert rebounded after an awful start in 2012-13.
Field goal percentage: .448
Three-point percentage: .250
Free throw percentage: .741
At the beginning of the 2012-13 regular season, fans were left wondering if it was really worth matching Roy Hibbert's $58-million offer from the Portland Trail Blazers.
After all, his play was as awful as it's ever been since being drafted out of Georgetown in 2008. His shots weren't falling, and it wasn't uncommon to see Paul George put up better rebounding numbers than him on the postgame stat sheet.
Luckily, somebody flipped the switch.
Hibbert began to re-assert himself after the All-Star Break, salvaging what would have been a dreadful season. He performed well enough to be more or less at par with his career averages in scoring and rebounding.
The most important thing for the Indiana Pacers is Hibbert's awakening from his defensive slumber. His average of 2.6 blocks per game while altering countless others establishes him as one of the pillars of a team which is second in the NBA in team defense.
Had it not been for his early regular season struggles, he would have gotten a higher grade.
More importantly, if Hibbert did not step up when needed, the Pacers would have been scrambling for a lower playoff seed.
Lance Stephenson played beyond expectations during the regular season.
Field goal percentage: .460
Three-point percentage: .330
Free throw percentage: .652
The player dubbed as "Born Ready" proved that he has definitely arrived.
Lance Stephenson stepped out of relative obscurity and into the Indiana Pacers' starting unit in 2012-13. This move paid some very handsome dividends.
Stephenson is an energetic player whose vibe seems to rub off on his teammates especially when they play lethargically. For instance, count on him to get a fastbreak going when the offense has gone stagnant.
Look for him to also make a nifty pass to a teammate for a dunk to pump everybody up.
Again, Stephenson's case is that of a player who has modest numbers (in comparison to somebody like George Hill). However, he earns high marks for his regular season play in 2012-13 because of the immediate impact he made.
From obscurity to a starting player who can only get better.
Upon Danny Granger's expected return in 2013-14 (and assuming he's at full strength by then), Stephenson could be counted upon to spark a bench unit that ranked as one of the league's worst.
His biggest issue remains on the maturity side. If he manages to get his head in the game on a consistent basis, the rest of the NBA better watch out.
David West continues to prove his worth as the Pacers' savvy veteran.
Field goal percentage: .498
Three-point percentage: .211
Free throw percentage: .768
David West continues to prove time and again why he's the Indiana Pacers' resident warrior.
In spite of his past injury issues, West continues to put up respectable numbers at the 4 spot. His feathery shooting touch from mid-range is still spot on, especially in clutch situations. He also plays decent defense and can put up respectable rebounding numbers alongside Roy Hibbert.
The toughness he exuded was also a valuable commodity, something which his younger teammates should follow. Proof of this was him averaging 17.2 points and eight rebounds on 56.3 percent shooting from the field in April—just as he was coming off a lower back injury which sidelined him for six games.
Without West, the Indiana Pacers are a so-so team. With him, they have a chance to contend.
Chalk one up for the veteran.
Paul George is destined to become the face and cornerstone of the Indiana Pacers.
Field goal percentage: .419
Three-point percentage: .362
Free throw percentage: .807
Prior to the 2012-13 NBA season, Paul George was a typical young player who had a tremendous upside but was thought of by many as reluctant and unable to play to his full potential.
Those days are over.
In fact, George's stellar regular season could be the turning point of his entire career. In one fell swoop, his reputation rose dramatically.
Beyond his numbers (17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game), his on-court performance proved to everybody that he is the Pacers' most versatile player in recent memory—and he's barely 23 years of age.
George did it all on both ends of the court. He nailed threes, dunked in traffic, made twisting lay-ups, rebounded, swatted shots and stole the ball. His defensive anticipation is second to none.
Truth be told, his most glaring weakness is his propensity for turning the ball over too much. However, this is something that experience can eventually cure and correct over time.
Paul George is making a loud statement, and he has barely even begun.