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Frank Vogel -- who posted a 20-18 record as an interim last season -- was named coach this offseason.
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StatsCube: Pacers improved under Vogel, but not by much

Posted Dec 2 2011 7:03AM

To get ready for the 2011-12 season, StatsCube breaks down the critical numbers for all 30 teams.

Thanks to a timely coaching change and a weak bottom half of the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers returned to the playoffs last season after a four-year absence.

Over the summer, the Pacers removed the "interim" tag off Frank Vogel's lapel, so he'll get a chance this season to continue where he left off. And with a young core and plenty of cap space, the Pacers have the potential to continue moving forward. But the numbers don't paint as rosy a picture of the Pacers' improvement as the standings did.


2010-11 BASICS
Record: 37-45
Pace: 97.3 (6)
Offense: 101.9 (22)
Defense: 103.4 (12)
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions

The Pacers had with a much better record under Vogel (20-18) than they did under previous coach Jim O'Brien (17-27), but statistically, they weren't really that much better.

Pacers' efficiency last season
Coach W L Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg
O'Brien 17 27 96.8 100.5 102.6 -2.1
Vogel 20 18 97.8 103.5 104.3 -0.9

The Pacers were better offensively, but worse defensively, with their new coach. And though they were 20-18, they were outscored by 23 points over Vogel's 38 games.

Interestingly, the Pacers shot slightly worse under Vogel, while turning the ball over more often. But they were improved offensively, because they got to the line more and grabbed more offensive rebounds.

Pacers' offense
Coach eFG% OREB% TO Ratio FTA Rate
O'Brien 48.6% 23.8% 15.3 .265
Vogel 48.5% 28.3% 16.2 .341
eFG% = Effective field goal percentage = (FGM + (0.5*3PM))/FGA
OREB% = Percentage of available offensive rebounds obtained
TO Ratio = Turnovers per 100 possessions

Indiana averaged 17.1 points from the free throw line and 12.7 second-chance points per game under O'Brien. They upped those averages to 22.1 points from the free throw line and 14.6 second-chance points under Vogel. Combined, that's an increase of 6.9 points per game.

Where's the weak link in Indy?

The lineup that Vogel used most -- Darren Collison, Paul George, Danny Granger, Hansbrough and Roy Hibbert -- played 324 minutes together under the new coach after playing just five minutes together under O'Brien. But that lineup wasn't all that effective, getting outscored by 4.7 points per 100 possessions for the season.

Vogel's second-most used lineup, which was also the lineup that O'Brien used most -- Collison, Dunleavy, Granger, Josh McRoberts and Hibbert -- was a far more effective unit. In fact, it was the fourth-best lineup in the league among the 61 that played at least 200 minutes together.

Highest efficiency differential among five-man units
Team Lineup GP MIN Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg
DAL Kidd, Stevenson, Butler, Nowitzki, Chandler 20 257 93.3 119.0 94.4 +24.6
BOS Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Garnett, S. O'Neal 18 265 95.4 115.1 96.1 +19.1
BOS Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Garnett, Davis 55 514 93.1 111.2 94.5 +16.7
IND Collison, Dunleavy, Granger, McRoberts, Hibbert 35 443 99.7 110.8 97.3 +13.5
SAS Parker, Ginobili, Jefferson, Duncan, McDyess 41 228 95.5 115.0 101.8 +13.2
Minimum 200 minutes played together

The other teams with a top-five lineup all won at least 56 games, but the Pacers won just 37. And that has a lot to do with how bad their third most-used lineup was. The lineup of Collison, Brandon Rush, Granger, McRoberts and Hibbert was the league's worst among those that played at least 200 minutes together.

That lineup was pretty awful, scoring just 99 points per 100 possessions and allowing 112. As an individual, Rush had the worst raw plus-minus of any player who spent the whole season on a playoff team.

Lowest raw plus-minus
Player Team GP MIN +/-
Brandon Rush IND 67 1754 -209
Andres Nocioni PHI 54 931 -138
Darren Collison IND 79 2360 -137
Zaza Pachulia ATL 79 1244 -137
Tyler Hansbrough IND 70 1536 -122
Among players who spent the whole season on a playoff team
Picking up the pace at line, on boards

The Pacers' increase in free throw rate under Vogel in the last 38 games was largely due to the play of Granger. Under O'Brien, Granger took more threes (242, 5.5 per 36 minutes) than free throws (229, 5.2 per 36 minutes). But under Vogel, he attempted a lot more free throws (237, 7.2) than threes (165, 5.0).

Jeff Foster ranked second in the league (behind Reggie Evans) in offensive rebounding percentage, but Hansbrough's increased playing time helped the Pacers improve on the glass as much as Foster did. Combined, Foster and Hansbrough grabbed 186 offensive rebounds in 38 games under Vogel after grabbing 119 in 44 games under O'Brien.

Record: 1-4
Pace: 93.8 (3)
Offense: 96.8 (15)
Defense: 103.3 (7)

The Pacers defended the Bulls pretty well in their five-game series, but they were awfully anemic offensively against the No. 1 defense in the league, shooting less than 40 percent from the field in each of the final three games. In the first two, they were outrebounded by 39 combined rebounds.

Vogel's starting lineup (with George and Hansbrough) scored a putrid 88 points per 100 possessions and was outscored by 25 points in 81 minutes over the five games. And he only used his strongest lineup (the one that ranked fourth in the league) for four total minutes in the series.

Rookie brings some defense

Dunleavy's playing time under Vogel may be an indication that his days in Indiana are over. He's an unrestricted free agent and George, a rookie, took his starting job late in the season.

Dunleavy was a more efficient scorer, but in Vogel's 38 regular season games as coach, George was a plus-51, the best mark on the team. The Pacers allowed just 101.7 points per 100 possessions in George's 885 minutes over those 38 games, as opposed to 106.8 in his 954 minutes on the bench.

George got credit for slowing down Derrick Rose in the playoffs. And indeed, Rose's numbers were down in that first round. But they were down for the whole series, not just when George was on the floor.

Derrick Rose's first round offensive numbers
George on/off floor MIN FGM FGA FG% Usage Rate eFG% TS% ASTRatio TORatio
George on floor 123 27 69 39.1% 34.5% 43.5% 54.2% 18.2 12.4
George off floor 71 12 36 33.3% 30.1% 36.1% 49.5% 14.9 6.6
Usage Rate = Percentage of team's possessions used when on the floor
TS% = True shooting percentage = Points / (2*(FGM + (0.44*FTA))
ASTRatio = Assists per 100 possessions used TORatio = Turnovers per 100 possessions used

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

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