How did point guard T.J. McConnell perform in his first season with the Indiana Pacers?
The Indiana Pacers signed guard T.J. McConnell to a two-year deal last summer to serve as the backup point guard to Malcolm Brogdon. After spending four seasons with the 76ers in the same role, McConnell joined Indiana and was a vital piece to the second unit.
McConnell made 71 appearances for the blue and gold last season, including three starts, as the leader of the bench unit. He racked up a solid 6.5 points and 5.0 assists per game in just 18.7 minutes per appearance. McConnell shot the ball very well for Indiana, hitting 51.6 percent of his field goals and 83.3 percent of his free throws.
His 5.0 assists per game were the highest he had recorded since 2016-17 when he posted 6.6 per game, primarily as a starter. He understands his role as a culture guy off the bench who can lead the backcourt of the second unit, which is perfect for any NBA team.
While McConnell was not effective from the three-point line, that is not what he is expected to do. He shot just 29.4 percent from deep for Indiana but he also attempted just 0.2 three-pointers per game, by far the lowest mark of his career.
Every now and again, we would see McConnell pop off for a big night on the offensive end. He posted a 17-point performance against the Pistons in which he shot 8-for-10 from the field and added nine assists off the bench. He also scored 15 against the Kings on 7-of-8 shooting with 8 assists in December.
T.J. McConnell may never be a game-changing point guard who defenses have to plan for, but he is the perfect backup guard who knows how to manage the game from the backcourt. He takes care of the ball and makes the right play when he’s tasked with bringing life to the offense.
Assuming he is back in Indiana for the 2020-21 season, T.J. McConnell will be a crucial piece of the rotation once again.