Indiana’s Awful Offense: General Sloppiness

(Photo: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)
(Photo: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports) /

As we move towards the playoffs, we will continue to detail the many woes that plague the Pacers’ Awful Offense. From turnovers and poor rebounding to bad screens and too much isolation, we’ll try to explain it all. This is the latest break down.

(Photo: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)
(Photo: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Pacers have a turnover problem plaguing its awful offense and it is clear at this point that they will never fix it completely. But there is a difference between turnovers that come from overly ambitious attempts to make a play and those that come from sloppy play.

If you are trying to do something grand, there is a general presumption of risk vs. reward and sometimes that coin is going to land on the bad side. Chris Paul and Magic Johnson turn the ball over plenty, for example, but they also make plays that few other humans can make.

On the other hand, if you just hand the ball over to the other team while trying to complete a basic basketball activity, that is just careless. And Indiana does this way, way too often.

Here is the most glaring example since the start of The Struggle.

Down 6 late against New York, the Pacers were trying to rally. Lance was actually big part of that, making a few big plays. But as can happen to the 23-year-old when he gets rolling, he got a bit over-excited and ended up trying to be flashy when a simple chest pass to Hill in the corner would suffice.

In the process, he made himself look as foolish as a player can. It was the passing equivalent of Nick Young celebrating a missed 3.

Here is another absolute gem — on the first play of a game, no less — from Stephenson.

How can you be so thoughtless this quickly? The game just started. Stephenson tries an ill-advised lob from way too far away and while doing a sort of turnaround entry pass.

But it certainly isn’t just Lance.

Check this complete brain fart by David West, the guy most would consider the least error-prone veteran on the teams

It seems contagious.

Such sloppiness is a disease circulating through this team. Check this nonchalance exhibited by Evan Turner against the Heat

Turner simply can’t be bothered to actually receive this pass. In fairness, Mario Chalmers does make a nice play on the ball, but this is on Turner for trying to make his move before fully securing the ball.

Roy Hibbert does something very similar here.

Here we see Hibbert ruin an excellent play by not catching the ball before trying to finish at the rim. George makes an excellent pass to Roy, but the big fella is too eager and muffs it. Players simply cannot throw away good chances to score like this.

Donald Sloan has been pretty bad since he took over backup point guard duties.

This clip is a glowing example why.

Here we see a set in which the Pacers actually get some good player movement and screen action (a big problem that we’ll explore more soon). With Paul George coming up on the wing and West down low with Kawhi Leonard guarding him, this should have been a great opportunity to put points on the board. Instead, Donald Sloan ignores the fundamental basketball principle of finding a good angle for an entry pass and throw a ball that Leonard is able to.

In this case, we’re not even talking about a turnover — just a thoughtless pass that forces the team to take a much worse shot. Once George gets the ball with 5 seconds on the shot clock, there is nothing he can do but try to create something out of nothing (which he actually does well before missing a tough shot).

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Instead, this should have been a routine swing to George on the wing and a dump down to West so he could go to work. But that’s Indiana’s offense these days: Nothing is routine anymore. Everything is a slog.

You get the gist.

Turnovers are a problem and have been for awhile. This goes beyond that though. All team commit turnovers, however, and Indiana will continue to do so. But the lazy, nonchalant, careless sloppiness must be curtailed.

The Pacers are — quite literally at times — just throwing away possessions because they can’t maintain concentration on their jobs. And this isn’t a team that, even at its best, can survive too many wasted possessions.