Pacers Report Cards: Grading every Pacers player's first-round performance

How did every Indiana Pacer perform in the team's first playoff series win since 2014?
Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers - Game Six
Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers - Game Six / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
6 of 11

Aaron Nesmith

Stats: 6 Games, 35 MPG, 11 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.7 SPG, 1.3 BPG, 1.2 TOV, 3.8 FPG 35.1/30.8/93.3 Splits on 51.9% TS

Aaron Nesmith came into the 2023-24 season with something to prove. After starting off his career with two dud seasons in Boston where he was lost in the rotation and never got a chance to shine, Nesmith was traded to Indiana in 2022 and performed well as a first-year rotation player. In the summer of 2023, Nesmith was rewarded for his season, as he inked a 3-year, $33 million contract, keeping him in Indiana until 2027.

In the 2023-24 season, Nesmith did everything possible to make that contract look like highway robbery as he posted career-highs in almost every major statistical category and even led the league in three-point percentage at one point.

However, the question still remained; Can Aaron Nesmith be a solid contributor on a playoff team? While he had playoff experience in Boston, it was merely garbage time in blowouts and nothing of substance. The 2024 playoffs were his first chance to show his skills as a rotation player.

From the offensive stats, Nesmith wasn't great. Possibly as a result of an injury against Toronto during the regular season, Nesmith's shooting splits took a nosedive as he even struggled with open three-pointers, attempting 25 and only making 24%. Additionally, Nesmith carried on a notable regular season problem of his into the playoffs, as he averaged 3.8 fouls in the series and hampered Indiana at times with his over-aggressiveness on defense.

Thankfully, Nesmith saved his best performance of the series for last, as his 15 points on 5/10 shooting and 3/7 from deep helped propel the Pacers to the elusive fourth win and series win as a result. Nesmith also drew some key fouls in Game 6, which did wonders for his defensive reputation, which was already high to begin with.

While Nesmith wasn't great in the first five games, his Game 6 prevents him from falling off the deep end and nets him a respectable grade. This will be a common theme for the next two entries as well.

Final Grade: C (Bad shooting, good defense, saved his series with final game)