Final Regular-Season Grades for Every Indiana Pacers Player
It will be interesting to find out how the Indiana Pacers fared in their final regular-season grades.
Collectively, they were an "A" during the first half of the season when they roared off to a 40-12 record before the All-Star break.
However, they were a solid "D" during the second half. We never knew for sure which Pacers squad would show up since that jackrabbit start.
Dissecting each individual Pacer's performance should give us an idea how the team will compete in the postseason.
Both Roy Hibbert and George Hill have been drastically underperforming. Indy needs both men to bring their A-game during the playoffs.
On the other hand, is anyone on the roster capable of getting a higher grade than erstwhile MVP contender Paul George?
For the purposes of this article, we will grade each Indiana player based on his regular-season stats and the impact he made on the team.
Plus, only those players who played in at least three games with Indy over the course of the season will be included.
Sorry, Andrew Bynum fans.
2013-14 stats: 1.6 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.1 BPG, 0.2 SPG
Solomon Hill, as expected, had the same fate as Pacers rookies of years past.
He was a fixture on the bench.
In fairness to him, he played hard whenever he got the opportunity. He showed plenty of promise and poise during the Orlando Pro Summer League last year.
He is willing to learn things the hard way. With that kind of patience, he ought to be rewarded with a solid NBA career.
Aside from his intriguing upside, Hill also took his rookie responsibilities off the court seriously. Check out him belting out a happy birthday song to Ian Mahinmi inside the Pacers' plane last November.
Despite him not taking the court too frequently, Hill still made a positive impact. However, he still has a long way to go in order to take his game to the next level.
Lance Stephenson was a virtual nobody during his first two NBA seasons. If Hill can keep the faith like Stephenson did, he can also be a vital contributor to the Pacers sooner than later.
2013-14 stats: 4.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.06 APG, 0.5 BPG, 0.4 SPG
Lavoy Allen could be another David West in the making.
Whenever he gets the opportunity, Allen is active around the basket, has good low-post moves and can stick the mid-range jumper if defenders dare him.
He can also hold his own on defense and rebounding.
However, he could use a bit more work on his free-throw shooting (.600 with the Pacers).
All in all, he has good potential.
His best game as a Pacer was when he scored 13 points on 6-of-6 shooting against Philly, his former team, on March 14.
Unless he takes the floor more often, he will be stuck being the 13th or 14th man on the roster.
2013-14 stats: 2.1 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.0 BPG, 0.2 SPG
Prior to the 2013-14 NBA season, journeyman Donald Sloan was a virtual unknown by Pacers fans.
It turns out he is a scrappy point guard who can contribute eight points, four rebounds and eight assists and commit zero turnovers on any given night, as he did against the Milwaukee Bucks on April 9.
That's the kind of impact he is capable of making.
Throughout the season, Sloan has grown increasingly comfortable in directing the offense. Surprisingly, he has been effective in doing so.
His main downside is his offense. He is an erratic shooter, posting 36.5 percent from the floor and 60 percent from the free-throw line.
The good news is that he is the type of player who doesn't force the issue. He focuses on his strengths, and that has made him effective despite his limited action in 47 games.
2013-14 stats: 2.4 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 0.2 APG, 0.2 BPG, 0.1 SPG
The Pacers brought in veteran Rasual Butler for more than just his shooting prowess: to act as a mentor to guys such as Lance Stephenson and Solomon Hill.
Pacers.com's Mark Montieth summed it up perfectly last summer when Butler was still with the Pacers' summer league squad:
Butler's experience could wind up working either way for him. He could be viewed as a valuable, end-of-bench asset, a veteran who won't complain about his role, won't make many mistakes on the court, will hit some shots and help mentor younger players.
But, he also could be viewed as a past-his-prime veteran taking a spot from a younger, developing player.
During the season, he was more of the first view. The Pacers didn't need him to put up gaudy numbers—not at this stage in his career.
They needed someone who could provide leadership and stability to a young core. He did that, and Indiana is leaning on him to continue doing so at this point of the season when the Pacers are primed to make a title run.
Butler, who spent the early part of 2013 with the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA D-League, is a bona fide trooper who hopes to be rewarded with an NBA championship.
2013-14 stats: 14 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.2 APG, 0.1 BPG, 0.8 SPG
Evan Turner was the leading scorer of an awful Philadelphia 76ers team prior to his trade to the Pacers.
Not a surprise at all, since he played for the Sixers.
Ever since he began playing for Indiana, things have been completely different.
Not only is he obviously unaccustomed to playing off the bench, he's also playing as if he wasn't the second player selected in the 2010 NBA draft.
He has been very inconsistent and is a huge liability on the defensive end. He has averaged just 6.8 points on a .397 shooting clip through April 14.
This cannot keep up if the Pacers are to contend for an NBA title.
Despite Turner's struggles, veteran David West told Pacers.com's Manny Randhawa on April 3 he hopes No. 12 can be more of an asset come playoff time:
He's trying. It's tough sometimes when you come from the situation he was in. He's been there for a few years.
It's hard to break some of those habits, and I think he's tried to integrate himself into what we're doing. We knew it was going to be a process and it wasn't going to be easy.
But we're going to continue to work with him and I feel like he can help us when the playoffs get here.
2013-14 stats: 10.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.1 APG, 2.3 BPG, 0.4 SPG
The most disappointing Pacer during the regular season is a toss-up between Evan Turner and Roy Hibbert.
In Hibbert's case, he has gone from first-half All-Star to second-half bust. From playing like Bill Russell to playing like Greg Dreiling.
From stud to dud.
Any Pacers fan would rather have Hibbert play the way he did last season, when he had a rough start but bounced back nicely at the time of the 2013 All-Star break.
He then went on to have a dominant postseason, making mincemeat of the Miami Heat's big men.
This year, it's completely different. After a great start, he's been tailing off at an alarming rate. Sure, he can still defend the post, but his offense and rebounding numbers are just downright awful.
In five games in April, he is shooting a paltry .250 from the field. For a 7'2", 290-pound behemoth, he is averaging just 2.4 rebounds this month.
His play on the court pretty much speaks for itself. He's been a nonfactor the past few weeks—a trend that Indiana hopes will stop come playoff time.
2013-14 stats: 10.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.5 APG, 0.3 BPG, 1.0 SPG
George Hill's face palm says it all.
After enjoying what was arguably his best season in the NBA as the Pacers' full-time starter at the 1 spot in 2012-13, George Hill has regressed somewhat this year.
His assists (4.7 to 3.5) and scoring totals (14.2 to 10.3) have both dipped from last year.
What's been also bothersome is that his performance in these two statistical categories over the last three months has been declining.
From 11.3 points in February, he is now down to an average of 7.0 points this month.
His playmaking has also suffered. His assist totals have dwindled during that same span, from an average of 4.3 to just 2.6.
It's great that C.J. Watson is back to help Indy stabilize its point guard woes, as the Pacers were just 7-11 in his absence, per CBS Sports' Zach Harper.
I feel like that's a little bit unfair to him because they have Paul George, he's the main guy, and then you got Roy Hibbert and then you got David West.
You have a lot of scorers already and George is a type of guy that he's not going to force it. He's a team-(first) guy and he's very unselfish.
If you put him in the position to be aggressive, he'll do it. He can score. George just took that role to be unselfish and he's just being a great point guard.
He's going to play defense and he's going to pass the ball.
2013-14 stats: 3.4 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.2 BPG, 0.1 SPG
Chris Copeland is the team's "Mr. Quality Minutes."
The thing is that he didn't get that many during his first season in Indy.
Sure, Copeland, who can play the 3 and 4, was behind Paul George, Danny Granger (before the trade), Evan Turner, David West and Luis Scola in the rotation.
Some even argue he's not exactly the best defensive player in the world, either.
However, no other Pacer proved his worth once he was given the opportunity as much as Copeland did. Count on him to make some timely shots and give it his all during his limited minutes on the floor.
His game-winner against the Milwaukee Bucks on April 9 is hard evidence of this.
Perhaps Copeland is making a case for more minutes in the postseason, given Turner's maddening inconsistency.
Paging coach Frank Vogel.
Copeland would be a great asset when it comes to spacing the floor and making opposing defenses honest. Even better, he'll make the offense more unpredictable, a welcome change given the team's horrific post-All-Star slide.
As a parting shot on Copeland, he may not have the gaudiest stats on the team, but he more than makes up for that with his impact whenever he takes the floor.
2013-14 stats: 3.5 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.9 BPG, 0.5 SPG
Ian Mahinmi didn't make much of an impact in the 2012-13 NBA season.
That has changed this year.
His resurgence couldn't have come at a better time. With Roy Hibbert a shade of the player he once was and Andrew Bynum still injured, the Frenchman has been playing with great energy, defending well and crashing the boards hard.
Nowhere was this more evident in the Pacers' 102-97 win over the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on April 13. Mahinmi scored a season-high 11 points and grabbed five rebounds on a night when Hibbert went scoreless.
Mahinmi told The Indianapolis Star's Candace Buckner in the game's aftermath that's how the trend between him and Hibbert has been all season long:
We're a team. When Big Dawg (Hibbert) is a little bit down, I've got to be there to pick him up, and that's it.
That's what I did. There were times during this year when I was a little bit down and he was there to pick me up. It is what it is.
Just like Copeland, Mahinmi's stats aren't exactly eye-popping, but his play and overall impact have helped resuscitate Indiana's play at the center spot, with Hibbert and Bynum having their own issues.
2013-14 stats: 6.6 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.1 BPG, 1.0 SPG
Just how big an effect did C.J. Watson's 18-game absence have on the Indiana Pacers?
As noted earlier, they were just 7-11 in games that he sat out due to elbow and hamstring injuries.
Granted, Indiana's regression was attributed to several factors: inconsistency from key players such as Paul George, Roy Hibbert and Evan Turner as well as putrid offense and costly turnovers, to name a few.
You can also add Watson sitting out several games to that list.
He didn't get off to a rip-roaring start this season, but his timely sniping and steadying veteran influence are precisely what the Pacers need.
Or his 20-point outburst against the Oklahoma City Thunder on April 13?
This is the kind of spark that. Watson has to provide in the playoffs.
Should the Pacers' and Chicago Bulls' paths cross in the postseason, it sure would be fun to watch Watson destroy his old team, given how much he tormented the Pacers while he was still with the Bulls.
2013-14 stats: 7.6 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.2 BPG, 0.3 SPG
Luis Scola was brought in to give the Indiana bench an added scoring punch.
Despite his presence, Indy is still in the bottom tier in terms of bench production. The Pacers are 27th in the league through April 16, according to HoopsStats.com.
We all know the blame does not solely fall on Scola, who endured a miserable shooting slump during the first two months of the year. He shot a paltry .370 from the floor in February.
Pacers president Larry Bird was then quick to single out Scola during the height of Indiana's collapse in March, per The Indianapolis Star's Bob Kravitz:
Yeah, that surprises me; that was the main goal, to get a big push from the bench, especially in the playoffs.
Luis, the big thing is he's not scoring the ball like he did earlier in the season. I don't get it. They're ranked 28th, so they are what they are.
I'm very disappointed in that. I thought they'd do a lot better for us.
Even at the ripe age of 33, Scola can still run the floor, move well without the ball and stick the open mid-range jumper.
Pacers fans can only hope the worst is over for Scola, whose veteran savvy made a positive impact on the team.
Despite his up-and-down season, other guys such as Evan Turner, Roy Hibbert (despite his All-Star selection) and George Hill were worse off than he was.
2013-14 stats: 14.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, 0.9 BPG, 0.8 SPG
Could this finally be the year veteran David West gets a title shot with the Indiana Pacers?
Throughout his three-year stint with Indy, West has been the team's emotional leader. He has also been the most influential voice in the locker room, hoping his wisdom would rub off on the squad's younger players.
While his scoring has dipped this season partly because of his slow start (just 11.9 PPG in November, per ESPN stats), West, just like the other Pacers, has also given Paul George a chance to shoulder more of the scoring load as the franchise player.
On that note, he has been George's saving grace this season.
You get the idea.
Throw in the recent struggles of Roy Hibbert and George Hill, and it's really West and Lance Stephenson who have been playing their guts out for the most part of the season.
West showed he can still be clutch during the regular season. Count on him to deliver once again in the postseason.
2013-14 stats: 21.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 0.3 BPG, 1.9 SPG
We all thought Paul George was destined for a breakout year in 2013-14.
He got off to a great start and was even an early-season favorite for MVP honors.
And then the bottom fell out.
His main Achilles' heel last season was turnovers. Now, it's his shot selection.
Seeing him shoot 6-of-22 or 8-of-23 has become commonplace. His two-point night against the Charlotte Bobcats on March 5 would forever live in infamy.
People would be quick to focus on his shortcomings and label him overrated.
Yes, George has had his struggles, but many tend to forget he is the best two-way player the Pacers have had in quite some time (as evidenced by his 1.9 steals-per-game average).
Plus, he's just 23 years old. The sky is the limit for him.
There's a great deal involved with the rise that he's experienced, and I definitely think that it's been a little bit of a challenge and he's been more of a focal point.
He's continuing to grow, he's reading defenses, he's sharing the basketball and he's trying to take advantage.
If George (who should still contend for All-NBA Second Team and NBA All-Defensive first- or second-team honors) is to live up to his billing, he has to build on his postseason resume and take this Indiana team to greater heights.
2013-14 stats: 13.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 4.6 APG, 0.1 BPG, 0.7 SPG
No Pacer was more consistent than Lance Stephenson during the 2013-14 season.
Sure, he had his off-nights just like everybody else, but he brought his full arsenal to the arena on a regular basis.
If five triple-doubles don't grab you, nothing else will.
By tallying 17 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists against the Oklahoma City Thunder on April 13, Stephenson surpassed the previous franchise mark of four set by Detlef Schrempf more than 20 years ago, per SportingNews.com's DeAntae Prince.
Stephenson also earns high marks for improving on the other facets of his game, specifically his passing and mid-range shooting.
Plus, he can out-rebound Roy Hibbert on any given night.
In the end, Stephenson may not have the gaudiest stat line on this team (that distinction belongs to Paul George), but he put it all on the line night in and night out for the Pacers.
If he can just cut down on his showboating and turnovers (2.7 per game), he'll be even better.
He should also contend for 2014 NBA Most Improved Player honors with guys such as Gerald Green and Goran Dragic of the Phoenix Suns.
"Born Ready" has definitely arrived.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all stats are courtesy of ESPN.