Grading Every Indiana Pacers' 2nd-Round Performance so Far

Poch de la RosaContributor IIIMay 14, 2013

Grading Every Indiana Pacers' 2nd-Round Performance so Far

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    As a unit, the Indiana Pacers are doing a good job, as they currently lead the New York Knicks 2-1 in their second-round series after their 82-71 win on Saturday. However, can the same thing be said about their individual performances?

    Has George Hill finally gotten over his mini-slump in Atlanta to become a key contributor against New York?

    Has Roy Hibbert, who some experts say is the key for Indiana in this series, been a consistent force on both ends of the floor?

    For the purposes of this article, the Pacers will be graded on their individual statistical output for the second round. This includes points, rebounds, assists and even turnovers. 

    Our hope is for everyone on the roster to take their game to the next level to make the Indiana Pacers more competitive as the postseason wears on. 

    After all, this is what NBA playoff basketball is all about. 

Ben Hansbrough

1 of 13

    Points: 0.0

    Rebounds: 0.0

    Assists: 1.0

    Steals: 0.0

    Blocks: 0.0

    Field-goal percentage: .000

    Free-throw percentage: .000

    Three-point percentage: .000

    Turnovers: 0.5

    Rookie Ben Hansbrough hasn't had the luxury of enough playing time to prove what he's worth. As a first-year player who's getting his very first taste of playoff basketball, observing and taking mental notes on the bench should serve him well for the future.

    For now, he only sees action when the game's outcome is never in doubt, producing an assist and a turnover per contest. 

    Let's hope this will be a springboard for better things to come. 

    Grade: D-

Jeff Pendergraph

2 of 13

    Points: 0.0

    Rebounds: 2.0

    Assists: 0.0

    Steals: 0.0

    Blocks: 0.0

    Field-goal percentage: .000

    Free-throw percentage: .000

    Three-point percentage: .000


    Jeff Pendergraph was an impact player during the regular season.

    This hasn't been the case in the playoffs so far. 

    After making a brief impact during the first two home games against the Atlanta Hawks, "Pendy" has seen his performance dwindle.

    In the current series against the New York Knicks, he's seen action in only one game (Game 2) where he made his presence felt by fouling Carmelo Anthony on a three-point play and immediately turning the ball over on the other end on an illegal screen.

    This paved the way for the Knicks' onslaught, with Pendergraph immediately getting yanked out of the game by coach Frank Vogel. 

    Roy Hibbert is getting the lion's share in terms of playing time at the 5 spot with Vogel essentially sticking to a seven-man rotation during the series. 

    This has left Pendergraph out of the equation. Knowing he has a great work ethic, he can eventually work himself back into the rotation.

    For now, he's been nothing short of a disappointment. 

    Grade: D-

Sam Young

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    Points: 0.7

    Rebounds: 1.0

    Assists: 0.3

    Steals: 0.0

    Blocks: 0.0

    Field-goal percentage: .250

    Free-throw percentage: .000

    Three-point percentage: .000

    Turnovers: 1.0

    More turnovers than points. 

    This is exactly what Sam Young has produced in the second round against the Knicks. 

    Three turnovers. Two points. 

    Just to emphasize, Young isn't expected to score in buckets. A bit of a contribution on the offensive end from Young would be good, but he's really expected to clamp down on Carmelo Anthony when Paul George is taking a breather. 

    After all, George sure could use some relief in this role on defense so he won't get worn out and eventually shoot better from the floor. 

    However, Young wasn't up to the task.

    In Game 1 at Madison Square Garden, Young had a golden opportunity. Check out what he produced here.

    With that kind of performance, he essentially played himself out of the regular playoff rotation and into a mop-up role with the likes of Ben Hansbrough and Orlando Johnson.

    This goes to show everyone that when you get a chance, you better make the most of it.

    Young sure didn't.  

    Grade: D- 

Orlando Johnson

4 of 13

    Points: 2.0

    Rebounds: 0.0

    Assists: 0.0

    Steals: 0.0

    Blocks: 0.0

    Field-goal percentage: .500

    Free-throw percentage: .500

    Three-point percentage: 1.000

    Turnovers: 0.0

    Sweet-shooting rookie Orlando Johnson is pretty much in the same situation as fellow first-year player Ben Hansbrough. 

    Johnson's first year in the NBA gave fans a glimpse of what he's capable of: a great stroke and a good work ethic. 

    However, just like Hansbrough, Johnson will have to settle for a mop-up role in this series against New York, which allows him to get a feel of NBA playoff basketball. Even with the little playing time he receives, the Pacers making the playoffs is a wonderful experience for a rookie like him to build on.

    For Johnson, it's all about earning his stripes the hard way. Let's hope he eventually does as he continues to make waves in the NBA.

    Grade: D  

Ian Mahinmi

5 of 13

    Points: 0.7

    Rebounds: 1.7

    Assists: 0.0

    Steals: 0.0

    Blocks: 0.3

    Field-goal percentage: 1.000

    Free-throw percentage: .000

    Three-point percentage: .000

    Turnovers: 1.0

    The Indiana Pacers' rebounding has been so dominant (so far out-rebounding the Knicks 134-105 in three games), Ian Mahinmi's presence on the glass has been virtually non-existent—five rebounds in three games. 

    After logging a grand total of 20 minutes of playing time in the series against the Knicks, his entire playoff stat line has been non-existent as well.

    The key here is Roy Hibbert, who has been logging an average of 38.3 minutes per contest in the second round as opposed to Mahinmi's 6.3. Hibbert is really the main cog in the middle for the Indiana Pacers against the New York Knicks. 

    Mahinmi, who has been part of a largely unproductive Pacers bench (getting outscored 86-51 by the Knicks' shock troopers so far), figures to get some garbage-time minutes as the series wears on. 

    For now, his main value lies in his championship experience with the Dallas Mavericks

    Other than that, Mahinmi has been a non-factor against the Knicks.

    Grade: D 

Gerald Green

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    Points: 7.0

    Rebounds: 1.0

    Assists: 0.0

    Steals: 0.0

    Blocks: 0.0

    Field-goal percentage: .600

    Free-throw percentage: .000

    Three-point percentage: .500

    Turnovers: 0.0

    Don't let the above numbers deceive you. These are Gerald Green's garbage-time stats from the only game he has played in the second rounda 105-79 blowout loss to the Knicks. 

    Just like teammate Jeff Pendergraph, Green showed some promise in the early going against the Atlanta Hawks. Many Pacer fans were hoping this was a sign of redemption for Green, who had a miserable regular season.

    This hasn't been the case so far.  

    Since Game 4 of the Atlanta series, Green has been an afterthought. In this series, there is no way he will be able to contain Carmelo Anthony while Paul George is resting on the bench. Green and George are simply not on the same level as far as defense is concerned.

    Another maddening tendency of Green is to hoist up ill-advised three-pointers, which is something Indiana cannot afford in the postseason. In the event he logs more minutes (which is very unlikely), he'll be the Pacers' counterpart of the Knicks' J.R. Smith as the most trigger-happy but not-so-successful three-point shooter in this series.

    With the way things are going, expect Green to still be a permanent fixture on the Indiana bench.

    Grade: D  

Tyler Hansbrough

7 of 13

    Points: 4.3

    Rebounds: 3.0

    Assists: 0.3

    Steals: 0.0

    Blocks: 0.0

    Field-goal percentage: .444

    Free-throw percentage: .556

    Three-point percentage: .000

    Turnovers: 1.0

    Tyler Hansbrough's gung-ho style of play would be the perfect antidote for an Indiana Pacers bench which has showed little life in the second round of the playoffs.

    With this in mind, he is not expected to put up big scoring numbers off the bench. What's important is that he scraps, claws and grinds in relief of veteran David West during the 13 minutes or so he averages per contest against New York.

    Count on Hansbrough to continue doing these things, although his free-throw shooting percentage has declined in this series.  

    All in all, his performance has tapered off in the last several postseason games. However, he is the type of player who can still make an impact in terms of the intangiblesdiving for loose balls, setting solid screens and boxing out. 

    If he ups the ante a bit in terms of his rebounds, he can help put the Knicks away for good. 

    Grade: C 

D.J. Augustin

8 of 13

    Points: 7.7

    Rebounds: 0.3

    Assists: 1.0

    Steals: 0.3

    Blocks: 0.0

    Field-goal percentage: .667

    Free-throw percentage: .500

    Three-point percentage: .625

    Turnovers: 0.3

    If only D.J. Augustin can consistently put up numbers like he did in his Game 1 performance (16 points on 4-of-5 shooting from three-point distance), the Indiana Pacers would have solid insurance in terms of scoring in the backcourt.

    In that same game, George Hill tallied 14 points but shot only 5-of-17 from the floor. Augustin certainly picked up the slack off the bench, something Byron Scott routinely did in the 1990s with this same team. 

    This is what D.J. Augustin was signed for.

    Unfortunately, he hasn't been the same since. He's averaged only 3.5 points per game in the last two contests. What's more is he continues to be a liability as a defender and playmaker. 

    The Pacers have to live with this for now, as he is the only viable backup option at the 1 spot. Together with Tyler Hansbrough, Augustin completes the seven-man playoff rotation the Pacers are relying heavily on. 

    If Augustin can throw off the Knicks defense with timely sniping in the ensuing games, New York will be in deep trouble.

    Grade: C+ 

Lance Stephenson

9 of 13

    Points: 9.3

    Rebounds: 8.0

    Assists: 2.7

    Steals: 1.7

    Blocks: 0.0

    Field-goal percentage: .414

    Free-throw percentage: .333

    Three-point percentage: .214


    Lance Stephenson continues to impress as the starting shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers.

    He doesn't put up gaudy scoring numbers, but he is an elite rebounder (8.0 per game in the series) who routinely out-hustles bigger guys like Tyson Chandler (7.1 RPG) and Kenyon Martin (4.8 RPG) on the glass.   

    Lance needs to shore up on his spotty free-throw shooting (.333) and his three-point marksmanship (.214), although he did hit two timely trifectas in the third quarter in Game 3 to help the Pacers pull away. 

    Pacer fans can only hope this is a sure sign he has rediscovered his shooting touch. 

    Stephenson's fearlessness, energy and versatility are what the Indiana Pacers need during an intense series against their playoff rivals, the Knicks. Even if things aren't going his way offensively, you can count on him to make his presence felt in other meaningful ways. 

    Grade: B 

George Hill

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    Points: 14.3

    Rebounds: 5.3

    Assists: 4.7

    Steals: 0.3

    Blocks: 0.3

    Field-goal percentage: .318

    Free-throw percentage: .750

    Three-point percentage: .346

    Turnovers: 2.7

    In the first two road games in the Atlanta series, George Hill shot a miserable 5-of-23 from the field. He was able to regain his shooting touch in Game 6 to the tune of 21 points to help put the Hawks away.

    Going into the series against the Knicks, fans were wondering if Hill was finally able to shake off the cobwebs.


    Hill is averaging a respectable 14.3 points per game against New York but is shooting only .318 from the floor.  

    On top of that, he also needs to cut down on his turnovers (2.7), the most memorable of which for Knicks fans was the steal off a double-team on Hill leading to an uncontested Kenyon Martin dunk on the other end in Game 2.  

    Hill's saving grace was the five triples he drained in Game 3, outperforming Raymond Felton (who had a tough shooting night) and helping the Pacers pull away to lead the series 2-1.

    Grade: B 

David West

11 of 13


    Rebounds: 7.3

    Assists: 2.3

    Steals: 0.3

    Blocks: 1.0

    Field-goal percentage: .485

    Free-throw percentage: .857

    Three-point percentage: .000

    Turnovers: 2.7

    Give David West tons of credit for the Game 1 victory which enabled the Pacers to snatch home-court advantage from the Knicks. His assortment of moves in the paint befuddled the New York defense, showing everybody how it's supposed to be done. 

    After failing to assert himself on the boards in the first two games, he snagged 12 in Game 3. The Pacers are out-rebounding the Knicks badly (134-105 through three games). If West piles up more rebounds, Indiana's frontcourt will dominate even more. 

    West, just like most of the starting unit, has been struggling with his turnover numbers. This is something he must keep in check. 

    In spite of this fact, his leadership throughout this series and strong showing in Game 1 (which resulted in Indiana snagging home-court advantage) earns him a decent grade.  

    Grade: B

Paul George

12 of 13

    Points: 17.7

    Rebounds: 5.7

    Assists: 4.3

    Steals: 2.0

    Blocks: 0.0

    Field-goal percentage: .362

    Free-throw percentage: .667

    Three-point percentage: .259

    Turnovers: 5.3

    Paul George is putting up some pretty solid numbers for the Indiana Pacers. For a 23-year-old who is still learning the playoff ropes, 17.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game aren't bad. 

    However, 5.3 turnovers per game is. 

    George and the rest of his teammates continue to struggle in this department (16.3 per game), coming up second behind Golden State among the eight teams in playoff contention as of May 14.

    Paul is the worst offender in this area. For the Pacers to oust the Knicks, George simply must cut down on his turnovers because New York thrives on forcing its opponents into a lot of miscues. 

    He has not shot the ball particularly well from three-point distance (7-of-27 for a 25.9 percent shooting clip) and the free-throw line (66.7 percent in the second round). He has also seen his rebounding average drop by almost four since the Atlanta series (9.5 to only 5.7 per game).

    However, George, who was recently named to the NBA's All-Defensive Second Team, is doing an excellent job in defending the NBA's second-leading scorer in the playoffs, Carmelo Anthony.

    For the record, Anthony has shot only 16-of-44 in the Pacers' two wins and didn't even score a single field goal in the fourth quarter of Game 3.

    Once George improves his shooting percentage and reduces his turnover numbers, he should be an even bigger force to be reckoned with.  

    Grade: B

Roy Hibbert

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    Points: 14.7

    Rebounds: 10.7

    Assists: 1.7

    Steals: 0.0

    Blocks: 3.0

    Field-goal percentage: .529

    Free-throw percentage: .889

    Three-point percentage: .000

    Turnovers: 2.0

    The mark of a great player is to rise to the occasion in the playoffs. 

    So far, Roy Hibbert has done just that. 

    His second-round stats against the Knicks represent an improvement from his regular-season performance in virtually every statistical category (points, rebounds, field-goal percentage, free-throw shooting percentage, assists per game and blocker per game). 

    Quite a feat considering the early-season struggles he went through.

    Hibbert is really one of the main keys on both ends of the floor for Indiana. To note: 

    • Game 1: 14 points, eight rebounds and five blocks. Pacers 102, Knicks 95
    • Game 2: Six points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. Knicks 105, Pacers 79
    • Game 3: 24 points and 12 rebounds. Pacers 82, Knicks 71

    If he is clicking on all cylinders on both ends of the court, the Pacers are an extremely tough team to beat. 

    In Game 1, he showed his value as a shot-blocker and rim protector by frustrating slashers like Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith time and again. 

    In Game 3, Hibbert's impressive offensive arsenal was on full display. He knocked down sweet hook shot after hook shot over Tyson Chandler, somebody whom Hibbert can exploit on offense. 

    Forget about his Game 2 scoring output. Big Roy has turned things completely around.

    When Roy Hibbert goes, so do the Indiana Pacers.  

    Grade: B+