Grading Every Indiana Pacers Players' 1st-Round Performance so Far

Poch de la RosaContributor IIIMay 1, 2013

Grading Every Indiana Pacers Players' 1st-Round Performance so Far

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    If the Indiana Pacers' first-round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks were a university subject, it's time to hand out the former's mid-term grades. The series is currently knotted at two games apiece after Atlanta beat Indiana 102-91 in Game 4.   

    When the Pacers seized control in the series' early going, the Hawks managed to claw their way back into it. If Indiana is to regain any momentum, each of its players has to reflect on his current showing and make the necessary adjustments moving forward.

    For the purposes of this article, the following playoff criteria will be used:

    • Points
    • Rebounds
    • Assists
    • Steals
    • Blocks
    • Field-goal percentage
    • Three-point percentage
    • Free-throw percentage
    • Turnovers

    It is also important to bear in mind that Danny Granger and Miles Plumlee are not included in Indiana's playoff roster.

    Now, it's on to the bigger questions that beg to be answered.  

    Has Paul George taken his game to the next level to make the Pacers a bigger playoff threat? Has David West played well enough in his role as the savvy veteran?

    It's now time to hand out the grades. 

Ben Hansbrough

1 of 13

    Points: 0.0

    Rebounds: 1.0

    Assists: 0.5

    Steals: 0.0

    Blocks: 0.5

    Field-goal percentage: .000

    Three-point percentage:.000

    Free-throw percentage: .000

    Turnovers: 0.5

     

    Ben Hansbrough continues to be the Pacers' second man off the bench at the point guard position. He has seen very limited action in a mop-up role.

    Had the series been a cakewalk in favor of Indiana, then he could have seen some playing time. However, Atlanta has fought back to make the series more interesting.

    Unless the Pacers blow out the Hawks in the next two games (which is rather unlikely considering Game 6 will be in Atlanta), expect not to see much of Hansbrough for the remainder of this series.

    Grade: D 

Orlando Johnson

2 of 13

    Points: 0.3

    Rebounds: 0.7

    Assists: 0.0

    Steals: 0.0

    Blocks: 0.0

    Field-goal percentage: .000

    Three-point percentage: .000

    Free-throw percentage: .333

    Turnovers: 0.0

     

    Rookie Orlando Johnson showed some flashes of brilliance during the regular season, but has seen his production dip considerably in the playoffs. He has been virtually non-existent on both sides of the ball, producing a solitary point in three playoff game appearances. 

    Just like Hansbrough, do not expect Johnson to be utilized much by coach Frank Vogel. Paul George has been playing the 2 spot in relief of Lance Stephenson whenever D.J. Augustin is at point guard.

    One can only hope Johnson will use his limited playoff minutes as a springboard in his quest to become a better NBA player.

    Grade: D   

Sam Young

3 of 13

    Points: 0.0

    Rebounds: 2.0

    Assists: 1.0

    Steals: 0.5

    Blocks: 0.0

    Field-goal percentage: .000

    Three-point percentage: .000

    Free-throw percentage: .000

    Turnovers: 0.0

     

    Sam Young hasn't had a chance to shine defensively in the 2012-13 NBA playoffs. Gerald Green, who has stepped up in this series against the Hawks, has been Paul George's main reliever off the bench. 

    Unless Green's play tails off considerably (similar to his forgettable regular-season showing), it's a safe bet Young will accompany Ben Hansbrough and Orlando Johnson as the Pacers' forgotten shock troopers in the playoffs. 

    Grade: D

Ian Mahinmi

4 of 13

    Points: 2.3

    Rebounds: 3.0

    Assists: 0.3

    Steals: 0.0

    Blocks: 0.33

    Field-goal percentage: .375

    Three-point percentage: .000

    Free-throw percentage: .500

    Turnovers: 0.3

     

    Fans were hoping Ian Mahinmi's play would somehow pick up after a lackluster showing toward the final stretch of the regular season.

    This hasn't happened so far.

    Mahinmi has been averaging a measly seven minutes of playing time in the playoffs. He barely saw action in the first two games in Indianapolis because Jeff Pendergraph was the second man in the rotation at the center position until that point. 

    He's putting up respectable rebounding numbers, but his offensive production has gone south. His regular-season free-throw percentage, which stood at a shade under 61 percent, has fallen to only 50 percent in the postseason.

    In most cases, Pendergraph has risen to the occasion when called upon. If that continues to be the trend, Mahinmi won't be much of a factor as the postseason wears on. 

    Grade: C-

D.J. Augustin

5 of 13

    Points: 4.8

    Rebounds: 1.0

    Assists:1.0

    Steals: 0.25

    Blocks: 0.0

    Field-goal percentage: .278

    Three-point percentage: .364

    Free-throw percentage: 1.000

    Turnovers: 0.3

     

    D.J. Augustin has been consistent. 

    Consistently below average. 

    Augustin hasn't resembled the player he was in the previous two regular seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats. When Charlotte made the postseason for the first and only time in 2009-10, Augustin put up similar numbers to what he's been producing in the current playoff series against the Hawks. 

    A case of a disappearing act in the playoffs, it seems. 

    The stats say it all: He can score on occasion (especially from three-point distance), but his field-goal percentage is way off. In the four games against Atlanta, he's been a non-factor as a playmaker and defensive stopper. 

    The Pacers, who currently rank 11th in assists among the 16 playoff teams, could use a spark in this department. It's no surprise their counterparts, the Hawks (who rank fourth in assists in the postseason), have made this series more competitive.

    So far, D.J. Augustin hasn't been that spark. 

    Grade: C-

Jeff Pendergraph

6 of 13

    Points: 3.3

    Rebounds: 4.0

    Assists: 0.3

    Steals: 0.0

    Blocks: 0.0

    Field-goal percentage: .313

    Three-point percentage: .000

    Free-throw percentage: .000

    Turnovers: 0.7

     

    Aside from Lance Stephenson, another high-energy player you'd love to see more of is Jeff Pendergraph. When the Atlanta Hawks fielded a taller starting unit in Game 3, Pendergraph saw his minutes dwindle when coming off the bench. 

    That game was his worst of the series thus far, as he failed to score and even grab a single rebound. He made his presence felt with four fouls and two turnovers in less than 10 minutes of action.

    He didn't play at all in Game 4. 

    Pacer fans want the Jeff Pendergraph who finished with eight points, seven rebounds and a lot of hustle in between in Game 2. He also needs to work on his shot selection, as he's only shooting 31 percent in the series. 

    If Ian Mahinmi continues to struggle, the real Jeff Pendergraph needs to show up in order for the Pacers to regain their edge. 

    Grade: C 

Tyler Hansbrough

7 of 13

    Points: 6.3

    Rebounds: 5.8

    Assists: 0.8

    Steals: 1.25

    Blocks: 0.0

    Field-goal percentage: .421

    Three-point percentage:.000

    Free-throw percentage: .643

    Turnovers: 1.0

     

    For Tyler Hansbrough, the effort is definitely there in terms of his hustle. He just needs to put up better rebounding numbers in the next few games after snagging only three boards in Game 4.

    For a power forward who's getting an average of 19 minutes of playing time, three rebounds just won't cut it. 

    He also needs to kick it up a notch defensively to help stymie Al Horford, who has been one of their biggest thorns at the 4 spot. 

    What's also hurting Hansbrough is his inconsistency in terms of his shooting. He shot 60 percent in Game 1 but saw his clip drop to 33 percent in the next two games. He's also shooting only 64 percent from the free-throw line. 

    If he does a better job of picking his spots in the Pacers offense and in his rebounding, he should make a bigger impact.

    Grade: C

Lance Stephenson

8 of 13

    Points: 7.8

    Rebounds: 6.3

    Assists: 4.0

    Steals: 1.5

    Blocks: 0.25

    Field-goal percentage: .414

    Three-point percentage: .250

    Free-throw percentage: .500

    Turnovers: 2.5

     

    If only the Indiana Pacers can get more out of Lance Stephenson's offense, they would be an even bigger force to be reckoned with. 

    Stephenson showed his remarkable ability to drive to the hoop in Game 4, finishing with a near-triple-double:10 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. However, the bigger question remains.

    Why doesn't he do it more?

    Stephenson needs to stop being reluctant. Instead, he needs to show everybody what he's capable of on offense. If the Pacers get at least 12 to 15 points from him, it will go a long way in taking the scoring load off Paul George and David West.  

    He also needs to cut down on his turnovers and sharpen his free-throw shooting skills. 

    On the plus side, his rebounding, energy and hustle are his major contributions up to this point. 

    Grade: C+

Gerald Green

9 of 13

    Points: 9.8

    Rebounds:1.5

    Assists: 0.5

    Steals: 0.5

    Blocks: 0.25

    Field-goal percentage: .412

    Three-point percentage: .391

    Free-throw percentage: 1.000

    Turnovers: 0.5

    If Gerald Green can make amends for a disastrous regular season, he can prove once and for all that he is worth the $3.5 million the Indiana Pacers are paying him.

    He was certainly on the right track during the first three games of the series, averaging near-double figures and picking his spots beautifully. His improved performance was punctuated by a nasty dunk over Josh Smith in Game 2. 

    His game tapered off in the 102-91 Game 4 loss. Plus, he continues to be a liability on defense. This trend cannot continue if the Pacers expect to keep Smith in check. 

    Bottom line: Gerald Green should be more than just a highlight reel.

    Grade: C+

George Hill

10 of 13

    Points: 13.8

    Rebounds: 2.5

    Assists: 3.5

    Steals: 1.5

    Blocks: 0.25

    Field-goal percentage: .422

    Three-point percentage: .350

    Free-throw percentage: .909

    Turnovers: 2.0

     

    If there is one Indiana Pacer who is in dire need of some home cooking, it's George Hill. 

    First two games in Indianapolis: 20 PPG, 3 RPG, 2.5 APG.

    Next two games in Atlanta: 7.5 PPG, 2 RPG, 4.5 APG.

    Hill shot 14-of-22 from the field (including 7-of-11 from three-point distance) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. When the series shifted to Philips Arena, he shot 5-of-23 (0-of-9 from the three-point arc).

    Needless to say, he has been the missing link in the Pacers offense. It's not that Hill hasn't been getting any open lookshe's just not making his shots on the road. 

    Kyle Korver and Josh Smith got hot at the right time for the Atlanta Hawks. 

    This is the challenge that George Hill must meet head-on. 

    Grade: C+

David West

11 of 13

    Points: 13.3

    Rebounds: 5.5

    Assists: 2.3

    Steals: 0.75

    Blocks: 0.0

    Field-goal percentage: .442

    Three-point percentage: .000

    Free-throw percentage: .882

    Turnovers: 2.3

     

    So far, David West's postseason production represents a slight dip from his regular-season averages of 17.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG and 2.9 APG.

    Not what you normally expect from a savvy veteran like him. 

    He's also been outperformed by the Hawks' Al Horford, who would beat West on occasion on a cut to the basket for an easy layup or dunk. 

    West can still light it up on any given night, but with his age and history of injuries, he needs his teammates (Lance Stephenson, George Hill and Roy Hibbert in particular) to take more of the scoring load off him.

    He also needs to figure out how to neutralize Horford, who has been the most consistent performer for Atlanta in its games against Indiana dating back to the regular season. 

    Until West does, he does not get a very high grade. 

    Grade: C+

Roy Hibbert

12 of 13

    Points: 13.3

    Rebounds: 8.3

    Assists: 1.5

    Steals: 0.25

    Blocks: 2.25

    Field-goal percentage: .457

    Three-point percentage: .000

    Free-throw percentage: .846

    Turnovers: 2.0

     

    Roy Hibbert's playoff performance has been good.

    However, for the Indiana Pacers to reclaim control of the series against the Atlanta Hawks, Hibbert has to be great. 

    Atlanta doesn't have Zaza Pachulia, who out-rebounded Hibbert in two regular-season games.

    Hibbert also has an offensive arsenal which can confound Johan Petro, who somehow gave him fits as the Hawks' starter in Game 3.

    Just like Lance Stephenson, Roy Hibbert needs to reassert himself on offense. With Al Horford (who can also play center) wreaking havoc at the power forward position, the Hawks don't have too many options at the 5 spot who can stop Hibbert when his game is on. 

    Make no mistake about it. Hibbert has been consistent on the defensive end. 

    If he kicks it up a notch on offense, the Hawks better watch out. 

    Grade: B

Paul George

13 of 13

    Points: 21.8

    Rebounds: 10.0

    Assists: 4.5

    Steals: 2.25

    Blocks: 1.00

    Field-goal percentage: .393

    Three-point percentage: .278

    Free-throw percentage: .829

    Turnovers: 3.3

     

    Paul George has officially arrived. 

    If there were any questions about his ability to deliver the goods in the postseason, his performance should answer them emphatically. 

    In fact, George leads the team in several playoff statistical categories which include points, rebounds and assists. He also made a statement by being only the second Indiana Pacer in team history to notch a triple-double in the postseason in the Game 1 victory against the Hawks (Mark Jackson first pulled it off in 1998 against the New York Knicks). 

    The main knocks on George are his turnovers (3.3 per game) and shooting (only 39 percent from the field and 28 percent from three-point distance). Josh Smith should get some credit for this, as he has held George to under 40 percent shooting and forced an average of 4.5 turnovers in the two games down in Atlanta.

    In spite of these, Paul George remains the brightest spot on a Pacers team whose overall confidence has gone down considerably.

    Grade: B+