Post-Game Grades: Pacers Midterm GPAs

After (almost) ever Indiana Pacers game this year, we have given each player a grade for his performance. After the first half, we figured we would total the results and see where each player stood in terms of their “Midterm GPAs.” It is somewhat fitting that no Pacer player receive an A nor did any fall below a C+. Unlike many other better and worse teams in this league, Indiana hasn’t won many games based on individual great play. It has mostly been a true “all for one, one for all” first half of the year.

Obviously, there is no science behind all this, and the whole premise of grading a guy on a letter scale after a game is more a fun way to break down what just happened than it is something anyone should really care about over the long term. And the players, I think unavoidably, become graded on a curve based upon their expectations: Dahntay Jones isn’t being compared to how I would expect Dwyane Wade to play whereas Danny Granger likely is being knocked down a peg or two if his post-game stat line doesn’t look somewhat like LeBron’s usually does.

Still, we have been doing it all year (minus two games) so may as well tally up the totals. Here are the numerical GPAs for each guy through the first half of the year.

3.15 – Jeff Foster
3.00 – Roy Hibbert
2.87 – Darren Collison
2.81 – Danny Granger
2.75 – David West
2.71 – AJ Price
2.62 – Lou Amundson
2.56 – Lance Stephenson
2.52 – Dahntay Jones
2.50 – Paul George
2.48 – George Hill
2.42 – Jeff Pendergraph
2.42 – Tyler Hansbrough

The only thing that looks rather out of whack is Paul George being the “4th worst” player so far. But Hibbert, Granger and Collison have been the team’s most important three players while Hansbrough and Hill have mightily struggled for long stretches. So … not so far off from reality perhaps.

Below are the letter grades those correspond to for each guy, along with a little blurb about their first-half-of-the-season play. Hopefully, some of these guys can hit the books and bring up their averages before Finals.

Jeff FosterHe certainly hasn’t been the best Pacer player this season, but he has the best mid-term grade. Honestly, it’s not that surprising: he has been the most consistent player and his stats rarely fluctuate to a degree that would give him a bad mark on any given game. Nor are most of his positive contributions predicated on stats.
Roy HibbertThis has worked out perfectly: Roy Hibbert is the ultimate B student. He has so much potential but he doesn’t always hand in his best work. Sometimes he prefers to zone out for days — or even weeks — at a time rather than participate in class.
Darren CollisonDarren became this offense’s on-court leader about 20 games ago and has played the best NBA ball of his life since then. He still struggles to defend bigger guards, but he has gotten to a point where he knows when to run the play, when to find the hot hand and when to call his own number. That was never the case last year.
Danny GrangerHis shooting has been Jeckyl & Hyde, but he — more than anyone on this roster — has won games in the 4th quarter for Indiana. He hasn’t had many duds of late, and Pacers fans should be hopeful that his errant jumpers were due to early-season rust and less-than-ideal decision making.
David WestObviously the most important offseason acquisition for some time, which makes the overall grade lower than his impact has been. He has not always been a statistical beast (which unfortunately can sway our game-to-game grades), but his effect on the locker room and the offensive execution has been tremendous.
A.J. PriceLooks like a great backup at times. At others, he looks he should be a great backup in the D-League. Pacers fans should be hopeful, however. He was excellent to start the year then tailspun for a month before righting the ship for some excellent play heading into the All-Star Break.
Louis AmundsonIsn’t particularly skilled, but he plays hard and rarely tries to do anything he can’t. And in a season when Foster has been hurt a lot and Hansbrough has been worthless a lot, his contributions likely outweigh any that Brandon Rush could have made, regardless of how well he has shot in G-State. Nice to see Rush find a good home though.
Lance StephensonI was skeptical whether or not Born Ready would ever Be Ready, but he certainly has looked better of late. His shaky errors are occurring with less frequency than they were early in the year and he now generally looks poised and able to contribute as soon as he enters the game.
Dahntay JonesJohn Keats said is best: Dahntay is Dahntay is Dahntay is Dahntay is Dahntay. I would add “Never change, Dahntay” but I know he won’t. Has been a key cog offensively off the bench in many a game and is a big presence in the locker room.
Paul GeorgeWith a 2.5 GPA so far, George falls right in between a C+ and a B-. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt and bumping him up considering that his defense sometimes gets over-looked when we rely on the boxscore. It’s a fitting place for him, however, as he has had some of the most explosive single game performances of the year but many more “Meh” offensive outings. Could be better. Could be worse.
George Hill - Perhaps closer to an “incomplete” than a C+ due to the injuries, but it will be interesting to see if he will take advantage of this opportunity to hand in “make-up” work in the second half. He certainly played some very poor games, especially early in the year, even when he was fully healthy. Also was the MVP in 3 or 4 wins.
Jeff PendergraphHasn’t actually played a meaningful minute this year so I will reserve any judgment. Basically, he took the semester off to backpack around Europe. In related news, I could see his career headed overseas some day, too. Seems like a nice kid though.
Tyler HansbroughGood god was his descent into ineptitude maddening. He started off the year playing as well as he ever has before getting poked in the eye, turning to the goggles and then turning into a pumpkin. It was all downhill from there. Fortunately, he had two nice outings against Charlotte to end the first half of the year. He badly needs to build on those and forget everything else that happened.

Tags: Post-Game Grades Post-Game Grades Midterm GPA

  • Sam

    Haha you are a tough teacher considering this team is 10 games over .500

  • poop

    considering their avg GPA is a B-, seems fair to me.
    I think if you are below .500 you deserve an F.
    That leaves 16 passing teams. 2 As, 3 Bs, 5 Cs, and 6 Ds
    Miami = A
    OKC = A-

    Chicago = B+
    San An = B
    Indy = B-

    Orlando = C+
    Clippers = C+
    Philly = C
    Houston = C
    Dallas = C

    Atlanta = D+
    Lakers = D+
    Memphis = D
    Portland = D
    Denver = D-
    Minny = D-

    that doesn’t mean teams currently failing can’t end up passing, but seriously, this is the NBA. there is no parity. How many teams deserve an A each season? sometimes I don’t feel any teams do. Sometimes there are up to 4 or 5 A teams. But Pacers are clearly a B team thus far, and if you look at the other B teams, they are towards the lower end. B- is a nice grade, teach. Give something to work towards in the second half.

  • little B

    @ poop and @ Jared

  • little B

    sorry hit tab button and then hit enter on last comment, stupid technology…anyways…if the grades are based on expectations, wouldn’t the Pacers receive an B+ atleast if not an A-? I won’t lie, I didn’t expect this team to be 21-12 to end the first half of the season, maybe 5 games over .500? but not 9.
    Grant it this season was really hard to predict what was going to happen. My hopes were up ( and have been for like 4 years now), but I didn’t expect this. I love it, but didn’t expect it. This also makes it to where they are going to have to really impress us the second half. 3rd in the east is pretty good. I would give them an A for what they have done. Really can’t expect anymore than what we got. Yeah there was a 5 game losing streak but lets be realistic. 8th in the east last year and 8 games under .500. Now 9 games above .500 and they get a B-. Come on man. guess this is more directed towards Poop than Jared since he didn’t give a team grade. Comparing to other teams a b- is still a little shot. but considering what the Pacers have done and where they came from last year b- is a little short changed.
    Not sure why I even commented on this, Friday morning ancy i guess. Glad the pacers got this huge break before there 9 game playoff team speed date coming up.