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

How did every Indiana Pacer perform in the team's second-round series win against New York?
Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks - Game Seven
Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks - Game Seven / Elsa/GettyImages
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Ben Sheppard

Stats: 7 Games, 20.1 MPG, 5.9 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 0.3 TOV, 1.6 FPG 48.4/45/66.7 Splits on 63.4% TS

Speaking of unsung heroes, Ben Sheppard is as unsung as they get. One of only three rookies to get rotation minutes in the Conference Semifinals, Sheppard was called upon to give the Pacers what he had been asked to do in the regular season, shooting and defense.

When the Pacers traded Buddy Hield at the 2024 Trade Deadline, the hope was that Sheppard could get more minutes to blossom into a legitimate role player with the added defense that Hield did not bring to the table for the Pacers.

In the playoffs, Sheppard went on to exceed anyone's expectations and played fantastic basketball when the pressure got bigger. In the playoffs, he has shot 47.4% from deep and the Pacers have a +21.5 adjusted net rating with him on the court, second-best to only Pascal Siakam.

Pacers fans could do nothing but smile and cheer as they watched the 26th pick of the 2023 NBA Draft who was getting DNPs and G-League run to start the season hit threes, cut for passes as a connector, and play lockdown defense en route to a productive seven-game run to help Indiana make it past the second round.

For Sheppard, these playoffs have been a golden opportunity to prove that he deserves ample playing time next season. With Bennedict Mathurin still sidelined from his labrum tear, every minute Sheppard gets is a blessing in disguise, and he is playing like he does not want to give up his rotation spot. The loss of Mathurin could have easily been a huge blow to the Pacers, but Sheppard's performance has at least softened the blow to manageable status.

Final Grade: A (Shot the lights out, locked down on defense, plays well beyond his years)