Archive for the ‘Indiana Pacers’ Category

tyler-hansbrough-making-his-normal-face

Back before all that other crazy stuff happened in the fourth quarter and overtime, there was like a 30 percent chance that last night’s opener of the Pacers-Heat series was going to be known as “The Tyler Hansbrough Game.” Nah, he didn’t go full-on Nate Robinson or anything, but he did have a stretch where he hit four buckets in about a five minute stretch, keeping Indiana’s head above water during the Heat’s characteristic third-quarter surge and killing valuable time for David West on the bench. His name trended on Twitter. Reggie Miller made a reference to him being the MVP or some such. Then a couple crazy shots, a couple crazy fouls, a couple crazy defensive breakdowns, and now Tyler Hansbrough’s breakout is kinda whatever. Oh well.

I’ve long been infatuated with Tyler Hansbrough’s role on the Indiana Pacers, because I can’t remember another player in the league in a position quite like it. Usually, nominal sixth men/first men off the bench types are shooting/playmaking guards, or at the very least, big men with impressive post games like Carl Landry or Paul Millsap a couple years ago. Tyler Hansbrough is basically the Pacers’ sixth man by default, because they have no other good bench players (or even competent ones, really — would any of DJ Augustin, Orlando Johnson, Ian Mahinmi, Sam Young or Gerald Green get even spot minutes on the Heat?), but he’s definitely not a shooter or a playmaker, and his post moves are pretty pedestrian, if even that.

Still, he gets results, sort of. Taking a cursory look at Hansbrough’s per-game averages on the season, they certainly won’t blow you away — seven points, about five rebounds, 43 percent shooting and one turnover per game is pretty unremarkable stuff. Look a little deeper, though, and he starts to look decently effective. First and foremost, despite only playing the seventh-most minutes per game on the team — yes, even Gerald Green played more — he drew the second-most free throws on the team, shooting nearly four a game in his 17 minutes, good for a per-36 average of nearly eight a contest. He was one of only 38 players to shoot 300 free throws this year, and he played by far the fewest minutes of anyone on that list.  And while he’s not quite a Reggie Evans-sized monster on the glass, he certainly crashes it with abandon, grabbing the second-most offensive boards on the team. Again, he was one of only 41 players to grab 160 offensive rebounds this year, and of those 41, only the prodigious Andre Drummond played fewer minutes.

To paraphrase Trey on a recent podcast, this is basically the entirety of the Pacers’ second unit offensive strategy: Tyler Hansbrough goes running around and hopes to draw a foul. The net results of that being your entire offensive strategy for stretches of the game at a time is obviously disastrous, as is reflected by Hansbrough’s unflattering on-court/off-court plus-minus numbers. But hell, if Hansbrough’s knees-and-elbows efficiency doesn’t do its damnedest to make it slightly redeemable. In the end, he posted an above-average PER for the season (15.3) and was worth a very respectable 4.4 Win Shares on the season, with his .154 WS/48 being the third-highest on the Pacers, higher than even All-Star and budding superstar Paul George. It’s not pretty, and Tyler doesn’t do anything to make it pretty. In fact, he makes it as brutal-looking as possible.

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Here’s the least fun question you’ll be asked all day. Would you rather take a flying knee to the junk…

…or a running uppercut to the junk?

Have fun contemplating this terrible question!

Just watch David West here for 30 seconds or so. He hears a question that has nothing to do with him, puts his head in to his shoulder, then wakes with a start once and looks super befuddled once a new question has been asked — as any teacher will tell you, this is a tell-tale sleeping when you shouldn’t be sleeping maneuver.

So was he sleeping? You be the judge. Just remember it was pretty late when Game 6 ended.

(via Tassie and Sean W.)

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From the person who brought you “Why are Chris Paul’s hats so big?” comes another blockbuster question about something minor in a player’s wardrobe — Why is Paul George’s jersey tag always sticking out? That picture up top is from Game 3, the one below is from Game 4 and you’re just going to have to trust me that that thing was out for the entirety of both of these games.

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Maybe this is why Paulie G has only 10 of his last 38 shots against the Knicks — tags can be really itchy, and being really itchy can be really distracting, and when you’re distracted maybe it isn’t easy to focus on shooting. I’m just spitballing here, but that’s the most logical explanation for George’s shooting slump.

Luckily for the Pacers, there’s an easy fix. Someone just needs to tuck it in next game. My choice is Roy Hibbert, since he’ll definitely have a good view of it from on high. Could be anyone though, just as long as it’s someone.

It’s either that or “BREADY DUCKS!” but that doesn’t really make any sense — duck isn’t usually breaded and I think we all know that. Must be the first one.

Also, this:

Tough night for Reginald Wayne.

(via Reddit)

Roy Hibbert’s All-Time Coolest Play
Look, I like Roy Hibbert as much as the next guy who appreciates rim protection but is still bored by his offensive game, but this has to be the biggest dunk of Roy Hibbert’s career. Unlike his one on LeBron, he actually looks athletic here. To paraphrase his good friend Chelsea Peretti, it really seems like he might have had coffee crankin’ through his sys. This would be a good choice for your favorite dunk from last night’s Pacers win.

Gerald Green Goes 1-for-1 on a Dunk
This would also be a good choice for your favorite dunk from last night’s Pacers win. Kind of feels like Josh Smith was expecting a floater, only to get his head crammed on by one of the game’s best dunkers unless we’re talking about this year’s slam dunk contest. My favorite part of this one, probably, is how Green jumps off both feet like it was just a normal way to finish a drive. It’s not, because most people can’t jump that high, that fast off of two feet.

David West and Gerald Green Beat the Buzzer
A darkhorse candidate, to be sure, but this is the most important dunk of the three. Not only was it the only dunk of the three in the second half of last night’s game, it also stopped a 6-0 Hawks run and pretty much put an end to this game. The Hawks didn’t get the lead under 10 after this play. Not to mention, buzzer-beating dunks are pretty rare, so mad #respect to that.

If I’m ranking the three, I’d go: 1) Gerald Green on Josh Smith 2) Roy Hibbert 3) Gerald Green’s buzzer-beater. But I don’t think there’s a big gap between No. 1 and No. 3. Gerald on Josh was awesome, Hibbert on Ivan Johnson was vicious, and Gerald Green on the concept of time is just really cool. It’s like picking your favorite member from TLC — you can’t go wrong.

(T-Boz, for the record.)

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Breaking news from the NBA awards zone, courtesy of Pacers.com even though I’m guessing you can figure it out based on that splash page and post title up there:

Paul George was announced as the winner of this season’s Most Improved Player award Tuesday at a press conference at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

George becomes the fourth Pacer to win the honor, following Jalen Rose (2000), Jermaine O’Neal (2002) and Danny Granger (2009). The Pacers have had more players win the honor, which was first awarded in 1986, than any other NBA team except Orlando, which has had five winners: Scott Skiles, Darrell Armstrong, Tracy McGrady, Hedo Turkoglu and Ryan Anderson.

The common thread among the Pacers’ four MIP’s is that they came to the franchise at a bargain price, and raised their scoring averages by at least five points per game the year they won the award.

Congratulations, Paul George. You’re the winner of the Most Improved Player award by way of the Kevin Love memorial good player becomes great clause. Not sure what I’m talking about? Check Paulie G’s per 36 minutes and advanced stats from the past two seasons, via Basketball-Reference.

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So basically, Paul George is the exact same player he was during his breakout 2011-12 campaign, only now he has a lower shooting percentage because he has far greater offensive responsibilities now that Danny Granger is working full-time on his Batcave. Every one of his shooting percentages are down, whether standard or advanced, and he didn’t really do anything else significantly better this season while also shooting far more often.

But he’s your MIP this year, largely because of that added offensive responsibility. He’s averaging five more points, two more assists and two more rebounds on a per game basis, which is great, but is also mostly due to his playing an additional eight minutes a game now that he’s a grownup and the Pacers’ one good perimeter player. Going from non-All-Star to first time of many All-Star didn’t hurt either. Not to mention, the one bold number on this season’s advanced stats ledger — defensive win shares — that coincides with Indiana becoming this season’s No. 1 defense. Mix those things together and you’ve got your MIP.

Let’s hear what you guys think of this choice. I think Paul George is a deserving player who probably didn’t deserve to win this year, but I’m also not going to get upset about it because it’s the NBA’s worst award. Comment away.