Pacers Report Cards: Grading every Pacers player through the All-Star break

The Indiana Pacers are back from the All-Star break, but how has everybody been doing this season?

Indiana Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton, NBA Player Grades
Indiana Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton, NBA Player Grades / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
9 of 13

Jalen Smith

Stats: 38 Games, 18.5 MPG, 10.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1 APG, 0.3 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 0.8 TOV, 2.3 FPG 63.2/48.4/70.3 Splits on 72.7% TS

2022-23 Stats: 68 Games, 18.8 MPG, 9.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1 APG, 0.3 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 1.1 TOV, 2.3 FPG 47.6/28.3/75.9 Splits on 56.5% TS

From one beacon of consistency to another.

Following Jalen Smith's less-than-stellar 2023 season, his status as a Pacer was uncertain. Smith's 2022-23 season was marred by inconsistent play and one of the worst three-point shooting stretches in the league, especially from the corner. Something would have to change, or else Smith saw his spot in the rotation up for grabs.

He would deliver, however, bulking up in the offseason and shedding the 'Stix' name given to him in college. This has so far shown big-time in the 38 games he has played, as the switch from power forward to center has Smith playing far more comfortably, being more used to contact down low and hitting shots inside, somehow being even more efficient than Obi Toppin.

Despite his 38 games not meeting the qualifiers for league leaders, Smith's 72.7% true shooting would far and away lead the league, as would his 21.0 PER and 71.6% from two-point land. Smith was also the league leader in three-point percentage for a long time before too many missed games caught up to him, however, his 48.4% from deep would still lead the league if he qualified.

In addition to the shooting improvements, Smith has improved as a defender, with his newfound muscle helping him tremendously in the paint against offensive players who would have been bigger and stronger.

Unfortunately, due to the Pacers needing to spend money on other ventures in the upcoming offseason, this season may very well be Smith's last in Indiana, but if that is the case, then what a season it has been.

Compared to where he was last season and just in general, Smith has completely transformed his game from being unplayable at times to being one of the best backup bigs in the league.

Final Grade: A (Improvements across the board, shame his Indiana career is probably over soon)