|2012-2013 Team Ratings|
|29th Overall||1st Overall|
Stats through Jan. 22
David West was such a snub when the East reserves were named, he didn't even get much attention for getting snubbed, but he's been a rock. Paul George rightfully got All-Star love in his breakthrough season. Roy Hibbert's shooting, scoring and defensive rebounding have all slipped.
With Danny Granger out and George shifting to SF, Lance Stephenson (Larry Bird-favorite) has gotten his first legit look – work in progress. Given George Hill's minutes and weapons at his disposal, he ought to rank higher in assists among NBA guard than the mid-20s.
Hibbert has been an asset here, forcing foes into tougher or deeper shots (league-best 41.6 FG%). George's maturation and Stephenson's activity in place of Granger have helped too.
AA source of frustration, or at least impatience, with new faces Gerald Green, D.J. Augustin and Ian Mahinmi getting most of the minutes along with holdover Tyler Hansbrough.
Frank Vogel's messages are getting through, especially on defense, and Pacers management rewarded him with a contract extension for two straight playoff appearances and a winning percentage of about .600.
The continued development of the bench, a sense of who they are not just at home but on the road and the return of Granger (knee injury) are the challenges facing the Pacers in the second half. The last of those seems the most critical, particularly if the veteran shooter's presence causes the emerging George to defer.
Another way to look at it, though, is that with his range, Granger -- if he doesn't go searching for 17 or 18 shots each night -- could open up the middle for West and Hibbert and create lanes for George and Hill. Reflecting Vogel's brash coaching personality, Indiana is ready to move past Chicago and Boston and challenge Miami in the East.
- Steve Aschburner
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||B+|
|Los Angeles Clippers||A-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||C-|
|New Orleans Hornets||C-|
|New York Knicks||A-|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||B-|
|San Antonio Spurs||B+|