A Season of Adjustments
Through 20 games, the 2012-13 Indiana Pacers season has been full of adjustments.
Adjustments without Danny Granger and George Hill in the preseason. Adjustments in the starting lineup, after Granger was ruled out ‘indefinitely’ because of a sore knee, which he would later receive an injection to treat. Losing Granger didn’t just affect the front line, but the second-unit, too. It’s a group head coach Frank Vogel kept together in the preseason to build familiarity because three of them — D.J. Augustin, Gerald Green and Ian Mahinmi — were new to the team.
Roy Hibbert’s lack of offensive efficiency has held the team back and put pressure on his teammates to score. The big man is averaging 9.8 points per game, his lowest average since his rookie season. Even worse, the 7-foot-2 center is shooting a career-low 38 percent from the field. It’s frustrating and he’s frustrated with the number of layups, tip-ins, and shots within five feet that haven’t fallen.
And then, there’s the bench.
When coach Vogel went to his bench a handful of games into the season, there was been significant drop off. Therefore he adjusted, and now usually keeps at least a starter or two on the floor to compensate ever since.
If he had a magic wand that could solve the issue, he would certainly use it. Instead, they’ll closely analyze each player.
“We have to continue to study it,” Vogel said. “We’re at a point right now where we have to make adjustments. Everybody on the bench has to look at their game and their approach, and they have to make adjustments–much like Paul George has made with his shooting routine to get himself going.
“Those guys have to make adjustments to get themselves going and I got to make an adjustment with how I’m using them. We’re studying their individual performances extensively over the next couple days to see what we can change to put them in better positions to succeed.”
This is what we know:
1) David West is a tough-guy, who will do whatever is his team needs. When you see his scowl, get out of the way. He’s picked up the team so many times when they’ve been down, that fans are already wondering if the Pacers will re-sign him because his two-year deal is up after this season.
2) Due to how well he has played and his willingness to take the late shot in crunch-time, George Hill has been invaluable and earned every dollar of his new deal (five-years, $40 million) this year. West and Hill have been the two reliable players that the Pacers can count on showing up every night.
3) The bench players have to get out of their funk.
The Pacers spent most of practice Saturday cleaning up what went wrong in a 92-89 loss Friday to Denver. And Sunday, they’ll face the hottest team in the league right now, Oklahoma City, which presents so many problems. Many items still need to be addressed but most of all, the Pacers will get a first-hand look at what is necessary to be one of the best teams in the league.
“We’re playing good basketball…(we’re) right in every game. It’s been a tremendous time for growth for our young guys because there’s no better way to grow from your own personal mistakes. We’ve had young guys make mistakes late in games that have been costly that we’re growing from.”
Regardless of who is on the court in late-game situations, the Pacers must finish. They have lost five games this season by three points or less. Say the Pacers had won four of them, and were 14-6, it safe to say considering the circumstances, they’d like where they’re sitting.
Still, the Pacers aren’t in a world of hurt. They’re just a game back from Chicago atop the Central Division and should Hibbert get out of his rut and the bench guys make their minutes count, the results will come. If and when Danny Granger returns to his old self, that’ll be the cherry on top.
Until all of those happen, adjustments will be key.