The Pacers have been struggling mighty ever since C.J. Watson started missing games due to injury. That was the reason. Well, not the sole reason by any means. But it sure hasn’t helped, since coach Frank Vogel has had to fill Watson’s void in the rotation with Donald Sloan and/or a combination of Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner playing out of position.
We recently ran a breakdown of just how C.J.’s absence is hurting the team.
Since Watson started missing games, the Pacers have scored a disastrous 87.3 points per 100 possessions while Sloan has been on the court. The defense stinks, too (allowing 103.9 points/100).
His shooting, too, is badly missed.
Watson has actually been deadly in spotting up from the corner, and a great shooter in the mid-range. His high volume of above-the-break 3s is killing his overall percentage (especially on the left wing, where he is an unthinkably bad 4-for-36 on the year), but he has been a blessing in hitting jumpers from everywhere else.
In short, the entire bench has suffered without Watson.
Unfortunately, Scott Agness of Pacers.com reports that Watson hasn’t made much progress in recovering from his hamstring injury. This follows a March 30 report, from Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star, that Watson would likely miss another week.
This is bad news, but hamstring injuries can linger for a long, long time so if Indiana wants Watson to help throughout the playoffs, it is likely for the best that he continues to rest and heal.
(This article has been edited since its original publication to correct an erroneous report on an updated time line for Watson’s return.)