Love/Hate series: Kevin Seraphin

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 10: Kevin Seraphin
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 10: Kevin Seraphin /

Kevin Seraphin makes the most of his limited time on the floor, but the Indiana Pacers have to find the right place for him.

When a player averages 4.7 points and 2.1 rebounds a game it is easy to overlook their contributions to the Indiana Pacers. But the story of Kevin Seraphin is more about finding the right fit that maximizes the team’s performance, even if Seraphin’s numbers don’t show that.

He only played in 49 games as November and December saw long stretches where he was left on the bench. While he only played in 17 games before the New Year, he once again was left on the bench for most of March.

Enter Lance Stephenson.

The duo ended up having amazing on and off-court chemistry, and most importantly, Indiana was winning when the two shared the floor. It was only for 10 games, but it gave us a hint of what’s possible for Seraphin and Indiana’s bench.

There are plenty of limits to Seraphin’s game, but there are reasons to keep him around in your rotation.

Love: Makes the shots he takes

Seraphin’s 11 minutes on the floor see him putting up a number of close and mid-range shots, but rarely out toward the 3-point line. Most of his shots are jumpers (47.5 percent) and hook shots (55.3 percent) as he’s incredibly accurate within 16 feet. Roughly 75 percent of his attempts are within that range. Post-up are one of his weapons as well as he’s ranked seventh in points per possession among players who average one post-up attempt a game.

He only averaged four shots a game, but on the season he converted 55.1 percent of his attempts. Intriguingly, he shot nine percent better on the road compared to home. I’m not sure if there is a logical explanation for that.

He’s pretty good at countering defenders in the post as well, but when you only play 11 minutes a game, you’re only stopping a limited number of points.

Hate: Not a great fit with Al Jefferson

This seems overly specific to hate on, but when Al Jefferson is supposedly your main threat off the bench, it ends up mattering immensely.

Putting Al and Kevin on the court meant Indiana had two plodding bigs, and Jefferson isn’t much of a defender. There was more than one way to exploit this, but teams taking a more modern approach to their offense found plenty of ways to score.

When teams faced the two, they were taking and making enough 3-pointers to be a problem. Opponents made 36.8 percent of their 3-point attempts against the Pacers with the two on the floor, which would have been the 21st ranked 3-point defense in the NBA if you expanded that out for the whole season. The Pacers were the 13th best team defending 3-pointers on the season, so that’s a noticeable drop-off.

More from Pacers News

It doesn’t help that neither him or Jefferson are a 3-point shooting threat, something the bogged down the offense as well. The area around the basket was clogged and didn’t allow either player to settle in and get comfortable.

This is one of the reasons Seraphin’s time on the floor was very hit or miss throughout most of the season. Of the lineups that saw significant playing time, none was worse than the one with both of the big men sharing the floor. They were a terrible combo and the Pacers deemed Jefferson’s offense more valuable than Seraphin’s contributions.

However, as the season came to a close and Al Jefferson wasn’t in shape according to Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers found minutes for Seraphin once again.

And once Stephson joined the team for the last few games, we began to see a better version of Seraphin than we saw all season. His chemistry with Lance wasn’t just great for social mediait showed on the scoreboard.

Seraphin’s highest scoring game (17 points) came with Lance, and arguably three of his top five games came in April.

We’ve preached the importance of fit, and Seraphin showed putting the right players on the floor together can turn someone into a deep rotation player into an effective backup. There are limits to Seraphin’s game, but the lineups toward the end of the season found ways to minimize those limitations and maximized his strengths.

What’s next for Kevin Seraphin?

There are minutes for Kevin Seraphin to be on the court, the question is when.

Al Jefferson is still on the team, so the two should avoid being paired together. However, Lance is still on the team as well, so it will be up to Nate McMillan to find time for both Seraphin and Jefferson. It does little good for Indiana to let Jefferson and his contract ride the pine.

They either need to trade Jefferson or get him back into shape where he can contribute to the Pacers. Until he does, however, Seraphin deserves the backup minutes.

Next: Love/Hate Series: Domantas Sabonis

It’s a small sample size, but we saw that Kevin and Lance played effectively together and push that until the returns diminish. If nothing else, at least the Frenchman around for social media greatness.