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
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Ben Sheppard

Stats: 6 Games, 17.8 MPG, 5.8 PPG, 3 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1 TOV, 1.5 FPG 50/50/80 Splits on 72.3% TS

Ben Sheppard is by far the most surprising player to get consistent playoff minutes for the Pacers this year. As a late first-round rookie, Sheppard was not expected to get much playing time at all to start the year, however was thrust into a rotation spot in his first year in the league and flourished after some time. On a team without many great defenders, Sheppard provided some much-needed defensive help, getting some key stops in the regular season to get Indiana to this very position.

As for the playoffs, many were skeptical about how Sheppard would perform, or if he would even get minutes. While Rick Carlisle certainly trusted the rookie, he also had a reputation for not playing rookies heavy minutes, which Pacers fans saw firsthand with Jarace Walker during the regular season.

With this in mind, it was quite surprising to see Sheppard not only play all six first-round games but play heavy minutes, as he averaged close to 18 minutes for the series. In the series, Sheppard mostly did what he did in the regular season, being a 3&D specialist.

Sheppard certainly lived up to the three-aspect of that moniker, shooting 50% from deep on three attempts a game for most of his 5.8 points per game. Unlike most rookies, Sheppard looked confident with his shot in the playoffs, taking the open shots the defense gave him and looking like a veteran most times, essentially making Buddy Hield a distant memory, since Sheppard did what Hield did and more.

As for the rookie aspect, Sheppard certainly didn't look like one on the floor. After the first-game jitters wore off, Sheppard played like a seasoned veteran the rest of the way and showed why Rick Carlisle trusted him in the rotation so much.

He was solid on defense as well, making life tough for the Bucks' perimeter scorers and earning his spot in the rotation after every game. Despite not originally being in anyone's playoff plans, Sheppard showed everyone that he belongs on the big stage for years to come.

Final Grade: B- (Nice surprise, fantastic rotation piece going forward)