Tag Archives: Paul George

The 2015-2016 All-Bizarro Leaders in Minutes

It’s about that time of the year to construct this season’s five-man team made up of unusual players who led their respective team in total minutes, though my last construction of one (or nine, going back to 2006-07) was in late-July instead of May. Whatever. In both situations, the season was already over and that’s all that really matters.

I started this mainly because guys like LeBron James, James Harden, and Jimmy Butler are likely to lead their respective teams in total minutes, but there are also a handful of players each season who are unusual sights at the top. Sometimes teams go into a rebuilding mode and need someone, anyone to be a key cog during that phase. For other teams, an aging player may have fresher legs than expected, and others may see their minutes rise due to injuries and/or depth issues.

For example, below was my 2015 squad:

2015 Tm MIN G MPG
Shane Larkin NYK 1,865 76 24.5
Ben McLemore SAC 2,670 82 32.6
Solomon Hill IND 2,381 82 29.0
Wes Johnson LAL 2,245 76 29.5
Pau Gasol CHI 2,681 78 34.4

Shane Larkin somehow led the Knicks in minutes with just 1,865, which has to be close to the record for least amount of time on the floor to lead a team. Solomon Hill went from 226 minutes during the 2013-14 season to 2,381 partly thanks to the freak leg injury to Paul George between those seasons. Meanwhile, Ben McLemore was one of the main constants for a Kings squad that was a playoff contender through the first five weeks before falling apart without DeMarcus Cousins. Wesley Johnson made the list, though just about any Laker who ended the season as the minutes leader would’ve looked unusual. Rounding out the squad was Pau Gasol, who at 34 years old played nearly 2,700 minutes, the most since logging over 3,000 in 2010-11 and the most minutes per game (34.4) since 2011-12.

So that’s a quick explanation and example of how these teams are formed. I also want to say that while I’ve started to ignore most counting and per game stats, minutes are still valuable to me. An easy example is a look at the Boston Celtics which have Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, and Isaiah Thomas all under contract through the 2017-18 season for a combined $20-22 million, but all three provide above-average production for a combined ~95 minutes per game. That’s huge. Above-average production at, thanks to a booming salary cap, below-average salaries for that kind of talent. There will be some contracts next summer paying that much for just one above-average player. The salaries and minute load of that Celtics trio allow them to overpay for minutes at other positions, too, or for shooting off the bench.

Enough about all that, though, and a look into this season’s bizarro minutes squad. Here were my picks:

Jordan Clarkson, Los Angeles Lakers, 2552 minutes

Not every year gives me a wide variety of players to choose from, but I try to make these teams as realistic as possible with a point guard, a collection of wings, and a center. According to Seth Partnow’s playing time estimates by position, Clarkson played 42 percent of his minutes at point guard, so he’s my choice here.

He beat out C.J. McCollum, Portland’s leader because I thought there would be more in the way of Clarkson with the mix of veterans and rookies in the backcourt. Kobe Bryant, Louis Williams, and even Nick Young would get their minutes, but so would D’Angelo Russell. Clarkson ended up starting every one of the 79 games he appeared in, though, and Bryant played 98 percent of minutes at small forward. Williams played most of his 1,907 minutes at shooting guard, but Young played in only 54 games and saw his minutes per game finally drop below 20.

For McCollum, Portland traded Will Barton in the middle of last season for Arron Afflalo, who was also off the roster before this season got started. Of course, they also let Wesley Matthews go in free agency. A lot more available minutes opened up for McCollum. On a bad team like the Lakers, there were plenty available for Clarkson, too, but also veterans and developing players who needed to get their minutes.

Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic, 2,566 minutes

This spot was a toss-up between Fournier and Gary Harris. The former averaged 28.6 minutes per game in 2014-15, but the Magic had more likely choices to lead their team in minutes this season such as Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Elfrid Payton, and Tobias Harris. For Gary Harris, he went from 719 minutes in his rookie campaign to 2,439, but just about any Denver Nugget would’ve made for an unusual leader in minutes including Danilo Gallinari, who averaged just 24 minutes per last season.

Someone on a lottery team has to lead their team in minutes, and I went with Fournier as the most unlikely between the two. Along with the teammates already mentioned, Fournier logged only his second of four seasons of over 70 games played, and it looks like there was something of a ripple effect to his minutes after Harris was traded to Detroit. The total games and minutes from this season should help Fournier this summer when, at just 23 years old, he’ll be looking for a new contract. That new contract feels more terrifying than other major raises in salary, but he shot 40 percent from three, is not a great playmaker but is at least decent, and has trimmed his turnover and foul rates since his time with Denver.

Wesley Matthews, Dallas Mavericks, 2,644 minutes

Matthews returned to NBA action less than eight months after tearing an Achilles tendon, then proceeded to log a minute total and per game rate right in line with the rest of his career. There’s value in that despite his usage rate being the lowest since his rookie season and his true shooting percentage the lowest since the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign. Hopefully 2016-17 brings upticks in three-point percentage (36 percent, down from 39 percent from 2010 to 2015) and around the rim (50 percent, down from 60 percent from 2010 to 2015).

Matt Barnes, Memphis Grizzlies, 2,190 minutes

Barnes is 35 years old, but his two highest minute totals in a season have been in 2015-16 and 2014-15, the latter when he logged 2,271 for the Clippers. This season’s total probably wasn’t what the Grizzlies planned. They cycled through 28 players and stayed afloat despite missing a total of 70 games to Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, and Zach Randolph. That trio combined for over 7,000 minutes in 2014-15 but about 5,600 this season. Courtney Lee and Jeff Green were also minute eaters, for better or for worse, who are now on the Hornets and Clippers, respectively.

Like Fournier, Barnes will be a free agent this summer, but at 35 his earning potential just isn’t the same. He should be able to make more than he did in 2015-16, though, which was $3.5 million and somehow the most he’s made in a single season. The minutes he’s been able to log should help with that.

Also, Barnes played 362 minutes at power forward. That’s enough to slot him here.

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans, 2,164 minutes

We need a possible center, so Davis makes the cut. There’s still reason to put him here despite being a top-10 player when healthy. The main one is that Davis logged only 2,164 minutes, which typically shouldn’t be enough to lead a team. Divide that by 75 games, a reasonable amount to get out of at least one player on a team, and that’s 28.9 minutes per game. Unfortunately for New Orleans, the only player to go over that 75-game total was Dante Cunningham, a gluey player and a constant for a team marred by injuries and the Matt Barnes for the Pelicans, or something. I have no idea. I have no idea about anything related to the Pelicans this season…

Honorable Mentions

Marcus Morris, Detroit Pistons, 2,856 minutes

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Andre Drummond, and Reggie Jackson seemed more likely to be the Pistons’ leader, but Detroit was top-heavy with their minute totals all season.

Paul George, Indiana Pacers, 2,819 minutes

Because, yeah, freak injuries and stuff. What a comeback.

C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers, 2,780 minutes

As mentioned above, quite a few minutes opened up for him this season, but 2,780 is still, well, a lot. Perfectly fine to swap Clarkson for him.

P.J. Tucker, Phoenix Suns, 2,540 minutes

It was just that kind of season for Phoenix, but Tucker’s 28th in total minutes since the 2013-14 season. Some bizarro names ahead of him are Jeff Green (23rd), Thad Young (21st), and Trevor Ariza (4th).

Gary Harris, Denver Nuggets, 2,439 minutes

Mentioned above and a very reasonable pick, especially after his rookie season when he had FG%/3P%/FT% lines of 30.4/20.4/74.5. Maybe he gets some votes for Most Improved Player?

Maybe I should change my pick from Fournier to Harris. Welp, too late.

Hollis Thompson, Philadelphia 76ers, 2,154 minutes

The Sixers’ leader was probably going to be weird no matter what. For that, Thompson’s penalized and dropped to the honorable mention. Still, he only started 17 games. 

Until next season. Hopefully Boris Diaw has 4,000 minutes in him.

Stats via Basketball-Reference unless noted otherwise.

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The NBA’s All-Bizarro Leaders in Minutes

The dead stage of the off-season is here.

This might be a hot take, but the best and/or most irreplaceable players should be on the floor as much as possible. That doesn’t always happen, though, and a season usually ends with more than a few teams with unexpected leaders in total minutes. Injuries pick apart the top of some rosters, other teams rebuild with somebody having to be a key cog, and some aging players continue to play a major role on the floor. Other weird things happen over 82 games that lead to some larger-than-expected minute totals, but those are three simple reasons for it.

So since it’s the off-season, why not make a five-player squad comprised of the most unusual minutes leaders? A while back, I actually tweeted my five bizarro minute leaders from last season, but I made an adjustment while putting this post together. Despite a center, Marc Gasol was an understandable leader in minutes for Memphis. He’s pretty good and stuff. A key component to being good at the NBA level is having basketball skills, and Gasol has them, or it. He has it.

Replacing Gasol was a Sacramento King not named DeMarcus Cousins or Rudy Gay, but still a decent player. Most of the guys were fine players who happened to log like 1,000 too many minutes for their team, usually a mediocre to bad one. 2014-2015’s bizarro minute leaders:

2015 Tm MIN G MPG
Shane Larkin NYK 1,865 76 24.5
Ben McLemore SAC 2,670 82 32.6
Solomon Hill IND 2,381 82 29.0
Wes Johnson LAL 2,245 76 29.5
Pau Gasol CHI 2,681 78 34.4

Larkin, McLemore, and Johnson were on teams retooling either in the summer or mid-season, Hill played over 10 times as many minutes as he did in 2014 thanks mostly to Paul George‘s freak leg injury, and Pau Gasol logged over 2,500 minutes for the first time since 2011. Things happened.

That’s as realistic of a starting five when it comes to picking weirdo minutes leaders. For the heck of it, I did the same exercise back to the 2006-07 season. I found most of these players to be truly interesting, but I figured some players like Khris Middleton would be strange only to those who weren’t all that aware of him yet.

2014 TM MIN G MPG
Randy Foye DEN 2,485 81 30.7
Jodie Meeks LAL 2,556 77 33.2
Khris Middleton MIL 2,460 82 30.0
Jeff Green BOS 2,805 82 34.2
Tristan Thompson CLE 2,594 82 31.6
2013 TM MIN G MPG
Luke Ridnour MIN 2,474 82 30.2
Greivis Vasquez NOH 2,685 78 34.4
J.R. Smith NYK 2,678 80 33.5
Martell Webster WAS 2,200 76 28.9
Tristan Thompson CLE 2,564 82 31.3
2012 TM MIN G MPG
Brandon Knight DET 2,129 66 32.3
Marco Belinelli NOH 1,966 66 29.8
Luis Scola HOU 2,067 66 31.3
Antawn Jamison CLE 2,151 65 33.1
Kris Humphries NJN 2,162 62 34.9
2011 TM MIN G MPG
Jason Kidd DAL 2,653 80 33.2
Beno Udrih SAC 2,734 79 34.6
John Salmons MIL 2,554 73 35.0
Boris Diaw CHA 2,778 82 33.9
J.J. Hickson CLE 2,256 80 28.2
2010 TM MIN G MPG
Andre Miller POR 2,500 82 30.5
Corey Brewer MIN 2,482 82 30.3
Rasual Butler LAC 2,702 82 33.0
Andre Bargnani TOR 2,799 80 35.0
Andray Blatche WAS 2,256 81 27.9
2009 TM MIN G MPG
Chris Duhon NYK 2,906 79 36.8
Jarrett Jack IND 2,716 82 33.1
Kelenna Azubuike GSW 2,375 74 32.1
Ronnie Brewer UTA 2,605 81 32.2
Ryan Gomes MIN 2,494 82 30.4
2008 TM MIN G MPG
Jamal Crawford NYK 3,190 80 39.9
Cuttino Mobley LAC 2,702 77 35.1
Ricky Davis MIA 2,963 82 36.1
Anthony Parker TOR 2,634 82 32.1
John Salmons SAC 2,517 81 31.1
2007 TM MIN G MPG
Ricky Davis MIN 3,021 81 37.3
Charlie Bell MIL 2,848 82 34.7
Desmond Mason NOK 2,575 75 34.3
Chris Wilcox SEA 2,586 82 31.5
Eddy Curry NYK 2,849 81 35.2

Random note: If you’ve ever fiddled with the simulations at WhatIfSports, the players in the seasons listed above are a bit pricey because of their minute totals and are some of the worst minute-per-dollar versions of themselves. That’s a solid site to kill time during the off-season, by the way. Their basketball simulation isn’t perfect, but it’s fun.

That was nine total squads, though. 2005-06 minutes leaders weren’t all that interesting, but we can get to a perfect round number by throwing out possible names to make the 2015-16 squad:

  • Roughly 95 percent of the players in the Atlantic Division.
  • Enes Kanter.
  • Meyers Leonard please, please, please, but Damian Lillard is just a bit more likely.
  • Zaza Pachulia or Wes Matthews.
  • Andrew Wiggins if he plays like 3,500 minutes.
  • Kobe Bryant, just because of age and stuff.
  • Rajon Rondo, a mediocre NBA player for a mediocre blog.

There were probably a few players I forgot, because of course.

All statistics were from Basketball-Reference. I love you.

Paul George and his hot hand from the corner three

It seems like Paul George takes that “next step” every season. He was the NBA’s Most Improved Player last season, but like Kevin Love in 2011 and 2012, there’s always curiosity about him winning it a second-straight time.

Arguably this season’s most obvious improvement in George’s game has been his comfort handling the ball while attacking just about every area of the court. That’s huge when he’s taken on a bigger load of the offense. He’s upped his usage rate from 23.5 percent in 2013 to 28.1, but trimmed his rate of turnovers from 15.2 percent to 11.8. He’s also been scoring more efficiently with an increase in his true shooting percentage, effective field goal percentage, and free throw rate. In particular, measuring his usage and true shooting puts him in company with only nine other players this season.

While a lot of that has been aided by a mid-range jumper that makes George a handful to guard, he’s also been red-hot from the corners where he’s shooting a ridiculous 59 percent. That’s surprisingly not first but second-best in the league, minimum 20 attempts. (For Paul George’s complete shot chart, click here.)

Here are the top 10 shooters. I only included usage rate because I needed another category to help fix formatting issues, but that statistic will come in handy later.

Top 10 Corner Shooters


Player
 
C3FGM
 
C3FGA
 
C3FG%

Usage
Mirza Teletovic (BKN) 13 21 61.9% 19.3
Paul George (IND) 32 54 59.3% 28.1
Mario Chalmers (MIA) 20 35 57.1% 17.0
Andre Iguodala (GSW) 17 32 53.1% 13.3
Marco Belinelli (SAS) 18 34 52.9% 19.6
LeBron James (MIA) 11 21 52.4% 29.5
Omri Casspi (HOU) 12 23 52.2% 18.9
Mike Miller (MEM) 14 27 51.9% 13.6
Darren Collison (LAC) 15 29 51.7% 19.9
Damian Lillard (POR) 15 29 51.7% 24.8
Anthony Tolliver (CHA) 18 35 51.4% 10.5

Over the years, other elite wings have been up and down with how many corner threes they’ve taken. That isn’t surprising when expanding players like George to that area takes away the impact of role players who specialize in shooting corner threes. (You could also say this about LaMarcus Aldridge, who has Wes Matthews and Nicolas Batum taking plenty of shots from the corners, and Dirk Nowitzki throughout his career.) Kevin Durant doesn’t take many shots from the corners at all while Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony have been hot and cold throughout their careers.

George is an exception along with LeBron James, who developed a killer right corner three last season. For George, he’s averaged about one corner three attempt per game since 2012, and though he tends to favor the right corner he’s been equally good (or in 2012, bad) from either side. He’s currently 13-for-24 from the left corner three and 19-for-30 from the right side with most makes coming from spotting up in transition, being the beneficiary of drive-and-kicks, and capitalizing on meltdowns from opponents while defending Indiana’s inbound plays.

90 percent of George’s corner threes this season have been assisted, a standard mark for that area of the floor. Lance Stephenson has been his main feeder, responsible for nine out of 29 assisted threes, according to NBA.com. That’s no surprise when Stephenson’s become capable (and sometimes obviously confident) of running the offense and finding shots for not only himself but everyone else. George Hill has been another primary passer to Paul George, responsible for seven assisted corner threes. I expected Roy Hibbert to have a similar impact, which he has been but primarily when George is either going to the hoop or on the left side of the arc. The difference in where each player assists to another is interesting in itself.

Is George’s current percentage from the corners sustainable? He’s on pace to take 116 attempts this season, or about 1.4 per game if he never took a game off. Mitch Richmond’s the only player to make over 50 percent of his corner threes, take over 100 attempts, and carry a similar weight of a team’s offense like George currently has, according to NBA.com. (Edit: Here’s a player comparison between that season and George’s 2014 campaign, via Basketball-Reference.)

Otherwise, shooting around 50 percent from the corners is usually reserved for role players, but ones that become incredibly valuable when defenses have to adjust for their shooting. Here are some players who came close to matching each criterion, sorted by the season. Richmond’s hot shooting is also included:

100 attempted corner threes, nearly 50 percent made, with a usage rate near 28%
(according to NBA.com)

Player Season C3FGM/C3FGA C3FG% Usage
Paul George (IND) 2013-14 69-116* 59.3 28.1
Joe Johnson (ATL) 2005-06 55-119 46.2 24.6
Rashard Lewis (SEA) 2004-05 66-134 49.3 24.0
Latrell Sprewell (NYK) 2002-03 54-116 46.6 22.6
Jamal Mashburn (MIA) 1999-00 74-157 47.4 23.8
Ray Allen (MIL, SEA) Any from 2000-07 A lot-A lot 40-45ish 27.0
Mitch Richmond (SAC) 1996-97 56-103 54.4 29.4

* – projected if George played 82 games.

In the second half of this season, variance will probably rear its ugly head towards Paul George’s corner threes. It would take him out of the hunt for the rare accomplishment previously listed, but it’s nowhere near the end of the world if that really happens. The corner three is a nice weapon for George just like it was last season, but it’s the other improvements like tightening his handles and adding a mid-range game that’s placed him among the league’s elite.

Danny Granger gives Indiana new possibilities, but also tough decisions (Part 1)

This is the first of a two-part series, this one featuring the cloud hanging over Danny Granger’s future with Indiana. Click here for part two.

With already 21 wins, it’s easy to forget that the Indiana Pacers haven’t been at full strength this season. That is, until Danny Granger came off the bench last night after missing the first 25 games of the season with a strained calf. In a contrast of styles, the Pacers beat the Rockets by 33, coincidentally the number on Granger’s jersey.

Granger finished with only two points on 1-for-7 shooting, but he showed the potential of getting back to the player he used to be. Not since 2012 has he looked like himself, when the Pacers were nearly 12 points better per 100 possessions when he was on the court, according to NBA.com. He led them both in scoring and usage rate for both that season and, at the time, their most memorable playoff run in years. Indiana wasn’t the same when he was on the bench, a bottom-five team in scoring efficiency and mediocre defensively. 

But that was 2012. Look around the league and you’ll notice every team has gone through major changes over the last two seasons, and Indiana’s no different. Some Pacers on the 2012 roster were Darren Collison, Dahntay Jones, Leandro Barbosa, Jeff Foster, and Jeff Pendergraph (who’s now Jeff Ayres). Back then, Collison started ahead of George Hill while the rest made up a good chunk of the bench, one that’s now revamped with newcomers like Luis Scola and C.J. Watson, among others.

Indiana has also improved from within. This is no longer the Granger-led team from 2008 to 2012, the latter season being the one when Lance Stephenson was a go-to guy in garbage time (he even had a 45.8% usage rating in the playoffs). He’s become a proven, reliable shooting guard since then and can compliment the starting lineup and/or leads the second unit. Meanwhile, Roy Hibbert has become a defensive monster that’s lived up to his new contract.

The improvement that impacts Granger the most, though, comes from Paul George who, after faltering in the 2012 playoffs but breaking out in 2013, is now Indiana’s starting small forward until at least 2018. It’s an awkward spot for Granger who was Indiana’s first franchise cornerstone after they traded away nearly everyone involved in the Malice at the Palace. They’ve become a title contender without him and, in the process, have a small forward who’s having a better season than he ever had.

And Granger might not be around much longer, currently in the last year of a five-year deal worth $60 million. Given his recent injury history, his likely role off the bench this season and the $14 million he’s making this year, his next contract will certainly be cheaper. Indiana has only so much room to maneuver without dipping into the luxury tax, and any money thrown at a Pacer this summer will likely be given instead to Stephenson (which has been discussed here). He’s seven years younger than Granger, the only other impact player coming off the books, and the only starter without a long-term deal. Given the improvements Stephenson’s made in his first four seasons, Indiana might not even be able to afford him either.

Losing either one of those players, let alone both, would be a bummer given how much they’ve developed with Indiana. Stephenson has become a key piece to a title-contending team despite 39 players taken ahead of him in the 2010 Draft, but Granger led the franchise from their rock-bottom seasons in the mid-2000s to when they gave the Miami Heat their first major scare of the 2012 playoffs. Indiana’s been a thorn in the Heat’s side ever since, but Granger’s been an afterthought. That is, until last night when the fans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse welcomed him back with a standing ovation. They did the same when he made his first field goal:

But Paul George had some highlights of his own, including a fast break dunk that brought the house down. He led the team in scoring all while hassling James Harden on the defensive end, a typical night from one of the premier players in the league. At one point, Granger was one of those guys.

How much of Granger’s future involves Indiana remains to be seen. He might even be gone before the trade deadline. It would be a cruel ending to his career as a Pacer, but the NBA is nonetheless a business.

The best scenario for both sides? Indiana lets Granger walk this summer, but only after he plays a pivotal role in helping the franchise win a championship. It would be a fitting end for a player who helped rebuild the Pacers from the bottom up, even if they may have won without him.

Just another reminder: This post isn’t meant to crap on Indiana’s great start by looking ahead to the trade deadline and summer. The next post will be devoted to some interesting lineups Danny Granger can be featured in. 

Lance Stephenson remains unpredictable

Mark Runyon | BasketballSchedule.net

Photo: Mark Runyon | BasketballSchedule.net

I’ve been posting little things about the Pacers lately, so I’ll try not to go overboard with them. I can’t resist talking about Lance Stephenson though.

Lance Stephenson’s progression, along with a couple other Pacers in their starting lineup, is one of the main reasons I’ve enjoyed watching Indiana this year. Their starting shooting guard has gone from rarely playing two seasons ago to a key, important cog. It’s a nice story by itself, considering how great the odds were against him carving out a solid career in the NBA when he was drafted 40th overall in 2010.

The all-around numbers are there for Stephenson: 12 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists, all nice upticks from last year. He’s also had more time with the ball in his hands, 2.6 minutes compared to 1.5 last season, the latter stat according to a piece on him from Grantland. It made me draw a comparison to a higher-paid shooting guard.

Lance Stephenson is Bizarro Tyreke Evans.

But even with the improved stats, Stephenson is still as unpredictable as last season, in my couch potato opinion. Granted, I don’t watch every Pacers game just like I don’t catch every game from every team minus the Minnesota Timberwolves, but I never know what to expect from the Indiana’s starting shooting guard whenever I happen to be watching them.

Stephenson’s unpredictability still leaves two sides of him: Good Lance and Bad Lance. Both are entertaining because neither seems all that conventional. Given how badly he misses some of his shots, I assume he shoots with his eyes closed and more than a few plays he’s made have led to “noooo…YES!” moments like what I wrote about Corey Brewer recently. And ever since Stephenson brushed off his teammates multiple times in the Eastern Conference Finals to take LeBron James one-on-one, I assumed he didn’t have ice in veins but mustard instead. It’s like he was in the film 300, waving off the Spartans so he could take on the Persians himself.

That confidence might not have worked out well nearly six months ago but, like Paul George and Roy Hibbert, you could sense Stephenson was going to make a bang the following season.

And he seemed like an early candidate for Most Improved Player of the Year through the first eight games, averaging about 14 points, six rebounds, and six assists. His turnover rate was only slightly up from 2013, which was even more of a positive when his usage rate went from 15.2 to 19.5 and the total number of assists he accounted for while on the floor nearly doubled, according to Basketball-Reference. He even had a triple double against Memphis with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists while turning it over just once. Stephenson’s progression seemed very encouraging, except for the fact it raised his value six months from now.

But the shooting splits through the first eight games remained bizarre in typical Stephenson fashion: 47.9 percent from the field, 51.4 from three and…42.9 percent from the line. That doesn’t exactly add up.

And then came Bad Lance, who’s just as entertaining as Good Lance but nowhere near as efficient. In the next 10 games, Stephenson shot 10.5 percent from three on nearly two attempts per outing, creating one of most hot-cold shot charts in the process. His offensive rating went from 111 through the first eight games to 93 over the last 10, but he made 72 percent of his free throws and recorded yet another triple-double.

But the turnovers and assists went up and down, respectively, with the turnover rate in the last 10 games up to 24.3 percent and the assist rate at about 20, according to Basketball-Reference. If those rates happened all season they would put Stephenson in similar company as awkward wings like Gerald Wallace and guards like D.J. Augustin.

But that hasn’t been the case all season and at 16-2, Indiana has been fine regardless of whether Good Lance or Bad Lance shows up, the frequency of each nearly split in half.

Sooner or later, though, the Pacers will need the more efficient version on a consistent basis.

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