Indiana Pacers Mid-Season Grades: Kinda Good, Kinda Bad

The season is nearly halfway done, making it a good time to evaluate how the Indiana Pacers players are living up to expectations.

At the nominal-halfway point of the season — the Indiana Pacers have played 40 of 82 games, and the NBA as a whole has moved past that halfway mark — we take a look at how each Pacer has performed.

All grades account for general expectations of the player’s ability.

The MVP: Who else but Paul George? It’s true that George has had more help on offense than in years past, and Jeff Teague has been exceptional in the last 10-15 games.

Myles Turner and Thad Young have had huge moments, and have been even more valuable due to the players behind them in the rotation. All of that is truth, but it’s still PG for MVP. His clutchness this season has won the Pacers games in of itself, and he’s still easily the best Pacer. This team will go as far as PG can take them.

The LVP: Monta Ellis. Ellis has given the Pacers next to nothing this year, and even his detractors likely wouldn’t have guessed his fall off would’ve been this precipitous. He hasn’t even managed to look like an above average player this year, and the fit with this Pacers team makes it even worse.

The X-Factor: Thad Young. Young doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective, and he’s been everything the Pacers hoped for. He’s had multiple games of 4 or more steals, he’s shooting over 40% from 3, and his energy level has been noticeably infectious in a number of games. He has pronounced weaknesses, but when he’s on his game and flying all over the court, this Pacers team is a different animal out there.

Paul George

Small Forward, Indiana Pacers

B+

22.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.8 steals, 2.8 turnovers. 44.7% shooting, 38.7% 3 point shooting, 92.3% free throw shooting. Paul George hasn’t reached the heights of last year’s start of playoffs. He’s been very good for the Pacers though, and he’s been the most efficient guy in the league in the clutch, on a large number of opportunities. Despite that, the Pacers probably need him to be in the 26-27 points per game category to do anything come playoff time. The turnover concerns are real at almost 3 per game.

Jeff Teague

Point Guard, Indiana Pacers

B

15.6 points, 4 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 1.6 steals. 44.1% shooting, 31.5% 3 point shooting, 84.7% free throw shooting. Teague’s start to the season was atrocious, but he’s come on of late and has been sublime the last 15 games or so. Teague is the straw that stirs the Pacers drink, and the offense flows significantly better when he’s on the floor. His relative defensive weakness has shown though, and he couldn’t coexist with Monta Ellis in the back court on offense or defense. Teague has to improve from deep for the team to really hit on all cylinders, but his passing and penetrating is invaluable for the Pacers starting unit.

Myles Turner

Center, Indiana Pacers

A

15.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.4 blocks. 52.7% shooting, 42.4% 3 point shooting, 80.9% free throw shooting. Turner has developed as well as the most optimistic projections had him developing. He’s hitting threes at a phenomenal rate for any player, not just a center. He’s among the league leaders in blocked shots, and has amazingly managed to stay out of foul trouble. Turner is everything the Pacers could’ve hoped for in his second year. His battles with Kristaps Porzingis have been good already, and only promise to get better.

Thaddeus Young

Power Forward, Indiana Pacers

B-

11.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals. 52.4% shooting, 42.1% 3 point shooting, 53.8% free throw shooting. Young has been up and down a bit this season, especially on defense. The effort is there, and he’s had several games with a large number of steals, but has been caught sleeping or making late rotations more than a few times.

Glenn Robinson III

Small Forward, Indiana Pacers

A

6.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, .8 assists. 41.3% shooting, 34.7% 3 point shooting, 77.3% free throw shooting. It wasn’t 100% certain coming into the year that Glenn Robinson III would make the team, let alone have a place in the rotation. GRIII has started more than half of the season at this point, and looks to have cemented his place with the starting 5. He’s not filling up the stat sheet, but he is bringing energy and athleticism that Monta Ellis just couldn’t. 34.7% from deep is good enough that teams have to honor him, and at 6’6, he’s not getting bullied nightly by opposing off guards. He’s nowhere near perfect, and I’m not sure he’s the 5th best Pacer on the team, but he fits with the starters and looks like he belongs in the league. That’s as much as the Pacers could’ve realistically asked for out of him.

Monta Ellis

Shooting Guard, Indiana Pacers

F

9.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2 turnovers. 44.5% shooting, 28.1% 3 point shooting, 86.2% from the line. Ellis has disappointed in nearly every facet this season. He’s been hurt roughly half the season, and hasn’t played well when he’s been in. His offensive rating of 98 is worse than any player who’s been in the Pacers rotation this season, and his 28.1% from deep is the worst of any Pacers rotation player who’s taken a single 3 this year. Ellis is coming off the bench now, and has told anyone who’d listen that he’s okay with the decision, but hasn’t played well enough to help that unit yet either.

C.J. Miles

Shooting Guard, Indiana Pacers

B

11.2 points, 3 rebounds. 44.4% shooting, 42.7% 3 point shooting, 91.7% from the line. C.J. Miles has been fine this year for the Pacers. He’s been mostly healthy – missed 7 games earlier this year -, and has done what he does well. 44.4% shooting from deep is red hot, and Miles has shown a bit more attacking off the bounce when teams close out recklessly on him. He’s been fine on defense, and has continued to fight hard when he’s slotted at the 4.

Al Jefferson

Center, Indiana Pacers

C-

8 points, 4.4 rebounds, .9 assists. 47.2% shooting, 74.5% free throw shooting. Big Al has struggled mightily at times this year, and is a consistent minus defensive player, but his gravitation pull around the rim can’t be denied. Jefferson commands an instant double team on the block, and can get it going quickly against most backup centers. That 3 year deal may begin to look onerous even next year if he can’t pick it up a bit from where he’s at now.

Aaron Brooks

Point Guard, Indiana Pacers

C

6 points, 1.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists. 43.2% shooting, 35.8% 3 point shooting, 88% free throw shooting. Aaron Brooks has been fun to watch with the ball this year. He gets to the cup frequently with that wild looking looping hook shot, launches 3’s from the next zip code, and can get his shot off against almost anyone. However, he often misses that wild looping hook shot, those 3’s often miss and come at the expense of running the offense, and “can get his shot off” doesn’t always equate to “should get his shot off”. Brooks is a bad defender, and has accordingly been a bad defender this year. He does provide some instant offense for the 2nd unit, and can run the PnR with Al Jeff effectively. He’s a better option still than Joe Young though, and brings experience and occasional veteran savvy to the bench.

Kevin Seraphin

Center, Indiana Pacers

B-

4.5 points, 3.4 rebounds. 55.2% shooting, 66.7% free throw shooting. Seraphin has played in 23 games this year, and recently debuted in the rotation, taking the backup power forward slot from Lavoy Allen. Seraphin isn’t exactly nimble and runs into a lot of the same issues Allen did against quicker and/or slick shooting 4’s, but he’s been extremely active on defense. On offense, he’s been an occasional threat both in the post and from midrange, and mucks up the spacing maybe slightly less than Lavoy Allen did. He’s not a power forward, but he’s been better than anything else the Pacers have tried in that slot.

Rodney Stuckey

Shooting guard, Indiana Pacers

Inc

9.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists. 44.1% shooting, 30.8% 3 point shooting, 73.7% from the line. Stuckey’s been fine when his health has held up. Unfortunately, his health hasn’t held up. He’s only played in 17 games this year, and will be out at least a few more with a hamstring issue he’s already tried to return from twice. Only 2 of the trio of Monta Ellis, Rodney Stuckey, and Aaron Brooks are likely to get minutes for this Pacers team, meaning Stuckey will have a battle for minutes on his hands when he gets back.

Lavoy Allen

Power Forward, Indiana Pacers

F

1.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1 assist. 32.2% shooting, 66.7% free throw shooting. Lavoy Allen was a +/- wonder for the Pacers last year, despite never wowing anyone with box scores. His magic this season has run out, and he wasn’t good when he was getting minutes for the Pacers. 32% shooting from your no-3-point shooting, low mobility, limited athlete backup power forward is not good.

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