Indiana Pacers: One stud, one dud from the loss to the Brooklyn Nets

Indiana Pacers, TJ McConnell - Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, TJ McConnell - Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /
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Indiana Pacers, TJ McConnell
Indiana Pacers, TJ McConnell – Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /

The Indiana Pacers badly need TJ McConnell to break out of his slump

Filling in for the injured Malcolm Brogdon, TJ McConnell, in his first start of the season, failed to deliver, finishing the game with a forgettable eight points and four assists while knocking down only four out of 14 field goals in 33 minutes. This continues a string of subpar games for the backup guard to kick off his third season with the Indiana Pacers.

McConnell struggled all night long, failing to capture a semblance of rhythm to have him going, especially with the starting unit. With the Pacers playing a lot slower and more deliberately than last season, defenses have been smarter with their approach on his sneaky drives to the rim. Alas, even with the playmaker’s improved three-point shot, opponents have been more than willing to concede that shot, with McConnell failing to sink both of his triples.

Not having the ball as much with Sabonis and Duarte tasked with the bulk of the ball handling has negated McConnell’s impact. An already negligible off-ball player to begin with, the issue is that he’s been forcing the issue too much, especially against set defenses. Due to that, he’s been missing looks that he normally makes, such as this one:

While Brogdon and LeVert could return anytime soon, McConnell has to be much better than his recent outings, not only to hold down the fort, but also to set him up as a more effective bench leader throughout the campaign as the Indiana Pacers seek to improve their putrid record so far.

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