Five takeaways from Pacers at Pelicans, box score edition

Pacers games returned Tuesday night. Yeah, yeah. It was just the preseason.

The Pacers were in The Big Easy Tuesday night to open their preseason slate. They never trailed at the end of any quarter, and scored 33 points in the second quarter to take a 59-50 lead into the locker room.

14 of the 19 players on their preseason roster saw time on the floor in their 113-96 victory. Myles Turner (concussion protocol), Aaron Brooks (left hip flexor strain), and Jeremy Evans (shoulder rehabilitation) were ruled out, and rookies Alex Poythress and Nick Zeisloft, both bound for the D-League, did not play.

[McMillan hires Jared Bartling to complete his first staff as Pacers head coach]

Note: The game was not televised by either team, so these observations are entirely based off of the box score. It doesn’t seem wise in today’s marketplace for the NBA not to make every game available. Many fans tweeted at me how they were upset to learn after paying $200 for NBA League Pass that it does not include most preseason games.

Fresh into a new season with many players changing teams and rookies trying to make a roster, not making every game available seems like a big missed marketing opportunity. At the least, I would have liked to see a basic four camera operation, or even using the in-house video board, and tying in the radio broadcast for a stream on the team’s website. Simple enough.

This is one surprising area where the progressive NBA is lacking.

As always, keep in mind that it’s a preseason game and the only sample thus far. Let’s get on with it, here are five observations from the box score…

Depth on Display

It’s the preseason where minutes are divvied out equally but seven Pacers reaching double figures is notable. Al Jefferson scored a team-high 14 points, Thad Young (12 & 10), Joe Young, and rookie Georges Niang each contributed a dozen. The Pacers like their depth and that showed. They only shot 43 percent, including 32 percent from deep, but that will come when players get back in rhythm and after a few more games.

[Myles Turner almost cleared, McMillan says his team needs game action]

Raise the Tempo

By now you are surely aware about Larry Bird and Nate McMillan’s intention to get this team moving. Bird wants the team to raise its scoring average from 102.2 points per game last season to 105ppg this season. In his first camp as Pacers head coach, McMillan has pushed his guys more and more in terms of conditioning to make sure they are in proper shape to do so. Coach plans to call less plays, so as to not bog down the offense, and to allow them to play a more free-flowing offensive system. Rebound the ball and go.

Tuesday night, the Pacers scored 113 points — which was the Golden State Warriors’ scoring average, number one in the league, last season. The Pacers were 17th.

Indiana attempted 104 shots, more than any game last season. In comparison, New Orleans put up 76 shots — 27 percent less than the Blue & Gold.

Minimizing Mistakes

Six of the 14 guys who played were new to the team, including three starters. Despite it being the first game, with many new players, and a new attitude on offense, the Pacers only turned it over 11 times. (They averaged 14.9 turnovers per game last season.)

Rebounding Non-Issue

The Pacers owned the boards, outrebounding the Pelicans 59-44.

Offensive rebounds: Pacers 16, Pelicans 3.
Points in the paint: Pacers 58, Pelicans 28.
Second Chance points: Pacers 20, Pelicans 4.

… you get the point.

Al Jefferson Has His Way vs Reserves

Big Al will be an asset on the court, and in helping Myles Turner.

Big Al will be an asset on the court, and in helping Myles Turner.

Entering his 13th NBA season, Al Jefferson has shown that he has some tread left on his tires. And a change in roles, coming off the bench, may prove to be ideal for the veteran big man.

In 18 minutes of game action, the 31-year-old scored a team-high 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting and he snagged five rebounds. He is going to find himself with favorable matchups, going against the opponents’ second-string big man. And he’ll happily take (and own) that matchup every time.

Jefferson can back it down in the post or spot up for a jumper from the high post after a screen action. 18 to 20 minutes feels about right, and he could be a force for opposing teams.

Bonus: +/- Worth Anything?

I received this question on Twitter after the game so I’ll answer it here: Does Glenn Robinson III’s outstanding +19, to lead all players, warrant additional playing time … say over C.J. Miles’ +4?

First of all, +/- isn’t a great statistic. It’s really is not a great measure because it has several flaws. Using it in a small sample size — in this case, a very small sample size — is a very bad idea. What else contributed to a high or low number?

Robinson III was 2 for 4 with six points, three rebounds, two assists, and zero turnovers in 12:47. Looking at it more closely, he was +7 in his first stint (second quarter), and +12 in the final 6:39 of the game.

Most of all, +/- is so flawed that since we couldn’t watch the game, it is unfair to make any conclusions without context behind it. If you want to evaluate an individual’s plus/minus, at least wait until the end of the preseason.

4 Responses to Five takeaways from Pacers at Pelicans, box score edition
  1. Michael Bradbury
    October 6, 2016 | 9:19 am

    I watched the game on League Pass.

    • Scott Agness
      October 6, 2016 | 4:57 pm

      It wasn’t available on LP. I know a few Pacers fans were able to have success with Kodi, and another found a backdoor site.

  2. Michael Bradbury
    October 6, 2016 | 9:42 pm

    Bullshit. I watched it. LOL
    VPN is your friend.

    • Scott Agness
      October 7, 2016 | 12:42 am

      Well you must be doing something that most of us don’t know about. It wasn’t on standard LP, though.

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