Stud – Aaron Nesmith
While Jarace Walker may have struggled for the second game in a row, the opposite can be said for Indiana Pacers wing Aaron Nesmith, who was once again awesome against the Atlanta Hawks.
In 16:20 of action off the Pacers bench, Nesmith dropped a team-high 15 points (tied with Tyrese Haliburton) to go along with one rebound and one assist. He shot 6-of-10 from the field and 3-of-6 from behind the three-point line.
After his breakout season with the Pacers last year, which followed a trade from the Boston Celtics, Nesmith is ramping up for a great second season in Indiana.
He won’t have as easy of a pathway to starts as he did last season, though, as the Pacers added some solid wing depth to the roster over the summer in the form of Bruce Brown.
Brown is expected to step into the starting lineup, as is second-year wing Bennedict Mathurin, who started his rookie season as a bench player before transitioning into the starting lineup toward the end of the year.
Nesmith is one of the best defensive wings on the roster, which will be his pathway to consistent minutes in Rick Carlisle’s rotation, but if his offensive production continues to look like what it was against the Hawks, then he could earn more minutes than most expected.