2017-18 Kia Season Preview
One Team, One Stat -- Indiana Pacers didn't take advantage of their 3-point prowess
NBA.com’s John Schuhmann gets you ready for the 2017-18 season with a key stat for each team in the league and shows you why it matters. Today, we look at the Indiana Pacers, who didn’t make the most of their efficiency from beyond the arc.
The Pacers shot well, but not often enough, from beyond the arc.
Last season, the league played at its fastest pace (98.7 possessions per team per 48 minutes) in the last 24 years. And it took 64 percent of its shots, the highest rate in the 21 years for which we have shot location data, from the restricted area and 3-point range, the two areas that yield the most points per attempt.
The Pacers went in the opposite direction. They were one of only five teams that played slower and took a lower percentage of their shots from the restricted area and 3-point range last season than they did the season before.
League-wide effective field goal percentage is highest in the first six seconds of the shot clock. And in regard to the percentage of their shots that came in the first six seconds, the Pacers went from above average in 2015-16 to below average in ’16-17.
They were already below average in regard to the percentage of their shots that came at the basket or beyond the arc. And with a drop last season, the Pacers had the league’s second worst shot-selection profile, as only the Pistons took a lower percentage of their shots from the restricted area or 3-point range.
Myles Turner was one of 13 players who shot better than 70 percent on at least 200 attempts in the restricted area. But he took more mid-range shots (337) than restricted-area shots (296). The latter (1.4 points per attempt) were worth much more than the former (0.9).
Among 16 players who attempted at least 400 catch-and-shoot jumpers last season, Turner (46.3 percent) had the lowest effective field goal percentage on those shots. For the league as a whole, 78 percent of catch-and-shoot jumpers were 3-point attempts. For Turner, that ratio was only 27 percent.
The Pacers did see the biggest increase in 3PA/FGA from the regular season to the playoffs, when they took 33 percent of their shots from beyond the arc. But that was still just the seventh highest rate in the postseason, and they still didn’t get to the basket very much. Only 27 percent of their shots came in the restricted area and only 60 percent of their shots came from the restricted area or 3-point range. Both of those rates ranked last in the postseason.
Paul George is gone and Turner is now the de-facto franchise player. As they rebuild around the 21-year-old, the Pacers would do well to adjust their shot selection.
PACERS NOTES – GENERAL
- One of three teams (all in the East) that finished with a winning record and a negative point differential.
- Were the only East playoff team that had a winning record (they were 9-7) vs. West playoff teams.
- Were 9.3 points per 100 possessions better with rest (plus-1.8) than they were on the second game of a back-to-back (minus-7.5). That was the second biggest differential in the league, behind only that of Detroit.
- Were the league’s sixth best team in the first and third quarters, with a NetRtg of plus-3.8, but were the league’s third worst team in the second and fourth quarters, with a NetRtg of minus-4.5. Had the league’s biggest drop (10.7 points per 100 possessions) in NetRtg from the first to the second.
- One of four teams that won multiple games after trailing by 20 or more points. They beat Portland on Dec. 10 after trailing by 20 and beat Sacramento on Jan. 18 after trailing by 22.
- Returning players who accounted for only 37 percent of last season’s minutes. Only Boston (36 percent) and Sacramento (32 percent) are returning a lower percentage of last season’s minutes.
PACERS NOTES – OFFENSE
- Have been a below-average offensive team in 12 of the last 13 seasons, though they were just a hair below the league average (106.19 points scored per 100 possessions vs. 106.23 – and those are estimates) last season.
- Had a below-average offense in the first, second and fourth quarters, but a top-five offense (109.4 points scored per 100 possessions) in the third. Thaddeus Young shot 23-for-39 (59 percent) from 3-point range in the third quarter and 22-for-79 (28 percent) from 3-point range otherwise.
- 58.5 percent of their turnovers were live balls. That was the highest rate in the league.
- According to SportVU, 52 percent of their ball screens resulted in a shot, drawn foul or turnover from the ball-handler or the screener. That was the second highest ball-screen usage rate in the league. They were the team most likely to pass to the screener after a ball screen, doing so 30 percent of the time.
- Though they were swept by Cleveland, they ranked fourth in offensive efficiency in the first round, scoring 111.0 points per 100 possessions.
PACERS NOTES – DEFENSE
- Last season was just the third time in the last 24 years that the Pacers allowed more points per 100 possessions than the league average. They allowed 6.1 points per 100 possessions more than they did in 2015-16, the biggest DefRtg increase in the league.
- Allowed just 98.3 points per 100 possessions in the 14 games (they went 10-4) in which they had a rest advantage (where they didn’t play the day before, but their opponent did). Allowed 107.9 points per 100 possessions in their other 68 games.
- According to SportVU, 78.4 percent of their opponents’ 3-point attempts were off the catch. That was the highest opponent rate in the league.
- Had the league’s fourth best first-quarter defense (101.2 points allowed per 100 possessions) and the league’s worst second quarter defense (112.4).
- Were 21-5 when holding their opponent to an effective field goal percentage of 48.0 percent or lower and 21-35 otherwise.
PACERS NOTES – LINEUPS
- Had an aggregate bench NetRtg of minus-4.6, the third worst mark in the league. They outscored their opponents by 4.4 points per 100 possessions in 2,178 minutes with both George and Turner on the floor, but were outscored by 3.9 points per 100 possessions in 874 with only one of the two on the floor and by 7.4 points per 100 possessions in 917 minutes with neither on the floor.
- One of two teams (Detroit was the other) that had three lineups that played at least 300 minutes together.
- Those three lineups all included Jeff Teague, George, Thaddeus Young and Turner, with Monta Ellis, C.J. Miles or Glenn Robinson III at the other wing. The lineups with Miles or Robinson outscored their opponents by 7.7 points per 100 possessions, while the lineup with Ellis was outscored by 0.2, with the bigger difference coming on offense.
- In 160 minutes with the three returnees from those groups — Robinson, Young and Turner — on the floor without George, the Pacers outscored their opponents by 6.7 points per 100 possessions.
- In the playoffs, they were outscored by 25 points in just 59 minutes with Turner off the floor.
PACERS NOTES – INDIVIDUAL
- Bojan Bogdanovic shot 3-for-26 (11.5 percent) from 3-point range in the last four seconds of the shot clock, the worst mark among players with at least 25 attempts.
- Darren Collison had an effective field goal percentage of 65.2 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers, the eighth best mark among 231 players who attempted at least 100. He shot 28-for-50 (56.0 percent) on corner threes, the best mark among players who attempted at least 50.
- Al Jefferson scored just four (0.7 percent) of his 535 points on fast breaks. That was the lowest rate among 213 players who scored at least 500 points last season.
- Cory Joseph shot 35.6 percent from 3-point range, up from 27.3 percent the season before. That was the fifth biggest increase among 169 players who attempted at least 100 threes in both 2015-16 and ’16-17.
- In every season since his rookie year, Victor Oladipo has improved his shooting on corner 3-pointers and increased the percentage of his 3-point attempts that came from the corners. His 43.2 percent from the corners last season ranked sixth among 22 players who attempted at least 100 corner 3-pointers.
- Domantas Sabonis was one of six rookies who played at least 1,000 minutes and had a positive plus-minus.
- Oladipo and Sabonis were part of one of the three lineups that allowed less than a point per possession in at least 300 minutes last season.
- Lance Stephenson had the league’s biggest increase in points per game in the regular season (6.8) to the playoffs (16.0). Every year he’s been in the playoffs, he’s had a jump in effective field goal percentage of at least 3.0 percentage points from the previous time.
- Myles Turner defended 9.6 shots at the rim per game, the second most in the league. Opponents shot 49.4 percent at the rim when he was there to protect it, the 10th best rim protection mark among 33 players who defended at least six per game.
- Thaddeus Young attempted 348 shots in the restricted area and only 86 free throws (0.25 per every restricted-area shot). Among 174 players who attempted at least total shots from the field, only Rajon Rondo (0.23) had a lower ratio.
John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.
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NBA TV’s Pacers preview premieres at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, Oct. 12. See the full preview schedule and archived clips from previous previews here.