Love/Hate Series: Cory Joseph

TORONTO, ON - MAY 05: Cory Joseph
TORONTO, ON - MAY 05: Cory Joseph /

Throughout the offseason, we’ll be analyzing what we love and hate about everybody on the Pacers roster. Up next is backup point guard Cory Joseph.

Cory Joseph is yet another newcomer to the Indiana Pacers’ roster, joining the team after two years in Toronto and four years in San Antonio before that.

For the Raptors last season, Joseph only missed two games, and he averaged 13.3 points and 4.8 assists per 36 minutes. He brought a much needed consistency to a Toronto squad that struggled with backcourt injuries for what seemed like the 20th year in a row.

He’s been hungry for a starting role in the NBA for a while, but Darren Collison will surely have something to say about that. As a player, Joseph has some limitations that are hard to ignore, but there’s a reason he’s stuck around for six seasons. Let’s break it down.

Love: Fit with Lance Stephenson and Victor Oladipo

Joseph is the perfect type of point guard to slot in next to Lance Stephenson. In other words, he doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective. Through his whole career, he’s never posted a usage rate above 20 percent, and that shouldn’t change in Indiana.

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The Pacers will need a guy like that in order to let Stephenson and Victor Oladipo maximize their own talents. Playing with Joseph will allow Lance to access his inner point-wing, and it’s not like Joseph will just be taking up space either. He shot 39.4 percent on catch-and-shoot 3s last season, certainly good enough to be a threat from the corner.

Basically, Joseph can be a guy that spaces the floor (enough), plays some defense on the other end, and doesn’t get in the way of Oladipo’s development as a ball-handler.

When he does have the ball, he’s fairly effective at driving to the rim, and he showed promise as an isolation scorer last season in a very small sample of possessions.

Hate: Point guard skills

The downside to Joseph being a good fit with Stephenson and Oladipo is that it’s kind of another way of saying he’s not very good at being a primary ball-handler. It’s not like he’s a train wreck or anything, but his game definitely needs work, which is why Collison is the projected starter.

As a pick-and-roll ball handler last season, Joseph only scored 0.8 points per possession, putting him in the 50th percentile of all players that played at least 10 minutes per game and recorded 10 applicable possessions. Ideally, Myles Turners needs a pick-and-roll partner who’s more of a scoring threat in his own right.

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His assist numbers leave something to be desired as well, and it’s not just because he was on DeMar DeRozan’s team last season. He’s never surpassed five assists per 36 minutes in any of his six seasons. As a point guard who mostly plays off the ball, this isn’t the end of the world, but if Joseph is looking to expand his role, he needs to get his teammates involved.

Ultimately, if Cory Joseph is running your offense, you will likely struggle to score enough points. Luckily for the Pacers, the fate of the offense doesn’t rest squarely on his shoulders.

Next: Kyrie Irving isn't coming

Stay tuned for the next edition of our love/hate series tomorrow with sophomore forward Domantas Sabonis.