The Indiana Pacers play as a team, and such has been the motto of the team since the day Frank Vogel was named head coach. Team first, trust one another and put the clamps down on defense — all are carved into the backbone of Pacers basketball.
That said, individual statistics are not equally as important as what the team is accomplishing as one. However, it is worth pointing out the variations between Indiana’s starting backcourt tandem.
Lance Stephenson starts at the shooting guard spot, giving him the ability to roam the floor, take open shots and create offense on his own. His counterpart, Indianapolis native George Hill, plays the point. Hill’s job is to set up the plays and act as a leader of the team by handling the ball and operating under pressure.
It’s safe to say Hill is not the most consistent player on the Indiana Pacers. His numbers have been up-and-down all season, but his leadership and defensive attitude have never faltered.
The same cannot be said for Stephenson, whom has been surprisingly – and pleasantly, might I add – consistent and even dominant at times. Stephenson, a Brooklyn, New York native, leads the NBA with four triple-doubles this season and has been given the green light from Vogel to push the ball in transition.
That gives Stephenson the opportunity to attack the basket with his 6-5, 240-pound frame and ability to finish at the rim. It also allows him to create open looks for his teammates, thus where the assists come into play in the triple-double category. Lance has established himself as arguably the best rebounding guard in the league.
The differences between Hill and Stephenson have never been more clear than Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Indiana Pacers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 110-100, but the two guards had vastly different effects on the outcome.
Stephenson nearly recorded his fifth triple-double with 24 points (7-13 FGs), 9 rebounds and 8 assists, with 0 turnovers in 37 minutes. Yes, ZERO turnovers.
Meanwhile, Hill was held scoreless for the first time all season, taking only three shots, committing two fouls and turning the ball over twice in almost 31 minutes.
It all reverts back to the fact that the Indiana Pacers play as a team and win as a team. No one player has to change the outcome of a game by himself.