What's on the Menu? "mmmmmm . . . Basketball!!!!"

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

SDH Presents the NBA's Worst to First for November: 20. Indiana Pacers

Overall Win/Loss Record (as of November 30th):  7-8 , third place Central Division

2
This Month:
20
Team Statistics and League Rank (as of November 30th)

Points Scored: 91.2 (29th)
Points Allowed: 92.2 (3rd)
Team FG%: .413 (29th)
Opponent’s FG%: .408 (1st)
Rebounds per game: 48.4 (1st)
Opponents rebounds per game: 43.1 (19th)
Turnovers per game: 16.1 (23rd)
Opponents turnovers per game: 11.4 (30th)

Individual Statistical Leaders



Scoring (ppg): David West (16.6)
Rebounds per game:  Roy Hibbert (8.8)
Minutes per game: Paul George (35.4)
Assists per game: George Hill (5.3)
Steals per game: Paul George (1.1)
Blocked Shots per game: Roy Hibbert (3.1)

Worst Player of the Month:  “Eee-nee, Mee-nee, My-nee, Moe!!”



This was supposed to one of the deepest and most talented rosters in the NBA; instead, it has become a complete laughing stock.  Out of all the players, only one on the roster has shot over .450, while the rest of the team hover under the .400 mark.  That includes the team’s All Star center Roy Hibbert who has been absolutely atrocious from the field thus far in this nascent season, just .379 from the field. Although the team’s defense remains tops in the league, that does not matter when its players can’t convert on the other side of the court.  The whole team seems completely off-kilter as can be seen by their rather poor start of the season and their pathetic production on the offensive end.  Something needs to be done and soon or else the Pacers might end up as one the biggest flame outs in NBA history.

First Player of the Month:  David West




David West has been the sole bright spot on an otherwise dreadful Pacers team although a not very spectacular one at that.  His 16.6 points per game currently leads the team while his 8.0 rebounds ranks second behind his lumbering teammate Roy Hibbert; however, that can be attributed to the poor play of his teammates rather than his ability as a player.  At 32 years old and with the numerous injuries he has had, David West cannot be called upon to carry this Pacer team especially when he was signed to be more of a complementary player rather than the team’s primary option on offense.  His teammates need to step up because he is in no ways qualified to be the team’s leading man at this point in his career.  If he is continually counted on to shoulder the offensive burden for Indiana, it will be a rather long and disappointing season for Pacer fans who had such high expectations coming into this season.

Analysis:

As with fans of the Los Angeles Lakers, the loyal followers of the Indiana Pacers have suffered the sting of having a poorly performing team that has failed to live up to expectations.  Last season the Pacers finished just two games short of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals and worried many a Miami Heat fan by taking a 2 to 1 game lead in their conference semifinal series with their team.  Once their season ended, there was even more anticipation for the upcoming as the Pacers had one of the busiest off-seasons in the league bolstering their already solid roster making it even deeper and more athletic than it ever was.  Indiana had potentially the strongest roster in the league going ten players deep—2 deep in each position—capable of starting for most NBA franchises.  Add the fact that their most heated divisional rival, the Chicago Bulls have essentially mailed it in for the season, the Pacers had the opportunity to not only dominate the Central Division, but also come out of the regular season as primary adversary for the Miami Heat come playoff time.

Unfortunately, all the anticipation has been for naught as the Pacers have started the season coming up quite short of fan anticipation.  Expected by many to dominate a rather weak Central Division, Indiana finds itself barely treading water with a sub .500 record struggling to get a foot hold in their division.  Although they have been holding their own on the defensive end, both Indiana’s returning players and their added firepower have been shooting blanks thus far churning out the league’s worst offense.  Indy’s starting center Roy Hibbert, who earned his first selection to the Eastern Conference All Star team and was expected to be the Pacer’s anchor in the paint, has been less than stellar to say the least as both his scoring (12.8ppg to 9.8ppg) and shooting percentages (from .497 to .397) have both drastically dropped from last season.  The same goes for Hibbert’s teammates, both old and new, as they have been playing quite out of sync ranking at the bottom of the league in points scored and field goal percentage while at the same time ranking amongst the worst in the league in committing turnovers thus far this season. 

Their offensive woes have been a thorn in the Pacers’ side for much of the season as they can neither hold onto the ball nor put it in the basket.  As mentioned before, their defense and rebounding has thus far reigned supreme; however what the use of forcing missed shots and grabbing the defensive rebounds if they cannot keep the ball on offense let alone put it in the basket to score?  There is simply no excuse for a team as deep and as talented as Indiana to be such a poorly producing offensive team because at a glance, the Pacers have a wealth of big strong and athletic players on their roster.  Coming into the regular season, the Pacers were considered as the envy of the league with the additions of blue collar big man Ian Mahinmi who had his best season playing for the Dallas Mavericks, high flying swingman Gerald Green who also made a statement last season playing with the former New Jersey Nets and DJ Augustin, who produced solid numbers (11.4ppg, 6.1apg) as the starting point man for the Charlotte Bobcats.  Unfortunately neither one of these players have lived up to expectations as they have struggled to acclimate themselves on the team and their talents have been wasted as a result.

Gerald Green has the reputation as a high flyer that can get up and down the court with ease; however, he has not been able to utilize his skills as the Pacers have been stuck playing a slower and more stagnant half court game.   D.J Augustin would have been an upgrade from last season’s starter Darren Collison, who was traded away in the offseason to the Dallas Mavericks, because of his solid passing game along with his ability of taking care of the ball as can be seen by his 3 to 1 assist to turnover ratio in his last season with the Bobcats.  Unfortunately, he has yet to show his strengths as he has been shelved in favor for a shoot first guard in George Hill who has been rather inefficient to say the least shooting under .400 while scoring close to 15.0 points per game.  Hill’s ability to facilitate the offense and get his teammates involved can also be called into question as his assists per game is mediocre at best at just 5.3 in addition to the Pacers’ sheer inability to protect the ball on offense along with the team’s sputtering offense.

It is obvious of who is to blame for this debacle—head coach, Frank Vogel has obviously no idea of how to utilize the talent on his roster as he has just continued the send out the same flawed roster onto the floor game in and game out.  It is his fault why his players have not been gelling on the offensive end because he essentially given the ball to a ball hogging point guard who looks for his own shot rather than get his teammates involved while ignoring the pass first point guard that the team’s front office has got him in the first place.   Vogel has no real excuse for the poor performance of his team as all of his players, save for one—last season’s leading scorer, Danny Granger—are healthy with none of his core player missing a game.  In fact, the team should be playing better without Granger as he was never that efficient of an offensive player to begin with taking the most shots while he spent much of last season shooting under .400 for much of last season as Indiana’s leading scorer.  Thus the change that needs to made at the top by getting rid of Vogel, because as he continues to coach, the Indiana will just continue to play underwhelming and inspired ball and that is not what Pacers fans should expect or deserve.