Player Review 2014: C.J. Watson
Years Pro: 7
Status: Has one year remaining on his contract.
Key Stats: Averaged 6.6 points in 18.9 minutes per game during the regular season and 5.6 points in 18 minutes per game during the playoffs.
C.J. Watson, like Luis Scola, didn't produce as much last season as most Pacers fans expected. But, like, Scola, his statistics were consistent with the rest of his career when playing time is factored into the equation.
Watson, the backup point guard, averaged 6.6 points while taking 5.3 field goal attempts per game over 18.9 minutes. The previous season, in Brooklyn, he had averaged 6.8 points on 5.7 shots per game over 19 minutes. His field goal and free throw percentages were up, while his three-point percentage was down.
So, those who were excited about his acquisition but disappointed by his production don't have a statistical argument to make.
Photo Gallery: C.J. Watson's 2013-14 Season-in-Review
Watson did, at least, provide an upgrade over the previous season's backup, D.J. Augustin, who averaged 4.7 points on 35 percent shooting in 16.1 minutes in the 2012-13 season. He was a respectable three-point shooter (.366), but, like starter George Hill, he was more of a scorer than a playmaker. He averaged just 1.7 assists per game, barely surpassing his 1.0 turnover average.
Still, he comes at a reasonable cost and has one year left on his contract, so the odds are decent that he'll be back next season. He gave an enthusiastically affirmative response – “I hope so!!!!” – when asked on Twitter if he wanted to return.
Watson scored in double figures in 13 of the 63 regular season games in which he played, and the Pacers were 11-2 in those games. Perhaps the best argument for his value, though, came when he sat out 17-of-18 games in March and early April with a hamstring injury. The Pacers went 6-11 through that stretch. They clearly need someone – Watson, for example – to be able to fill the backup role.
Watson appears to be like Augustin, or any other backup point guard for that matter. He needs minutes, and the ball, to be effective. The Pacers' offense, as Hill would agree, has not been built around the point guard, so it's difficult to pass harsh judgment on any of them. Still, they need to produce more for the Pacers to take another step in the playoffs.