The Indiana Pacers finished the regular season as the Central Division Champs with a 49-32 record, 4.5 games better than the Chicago Bulls. The Pacers then went 11-8 (57.9%) in the playoffs, as they beat the Hawks and Knicks before falling to the Heat in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals. Here is a look at the players who made the biggest impacts for the Pacers in this 2012-13 season, in my opinion:
TEAM MVP: Paul George - 23-year old small forward Paul George really stepped up his game in 2012-13. He played in 79 games (all starts) for the Pacers last year and he averaged 37.6 minutes, 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game. He had 23 double-doubles and 1 triple-double last year for the Pacers. George scored 20 or more points in a game 34 times last year. He also had 22 games with at least 10 rebounds, 26 games with at least 5 assists, 19 games with at least 3 steals and 4 games with at least 3 blocked shots last year.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Lance Stephenson - 23-year old shooting guard Lance Stephenson stepped into the starting lineup when Danny Granger was banged up (knee injury) for most of the 2012-13 season. He played in 78 games (72 starts) for the Pacers last year and he averaged 29.2 minutes, 8.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.0 steal per game. He had 2 double-doubles last year. Stephenson scored at least 10 points in 36 games last year. He also had 26 games with 5 or more rebounds, 13 games with at least 5 assists and 6 games with at least 3 steals in 2012-13.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: D.J. Augustin - 25-year old point guard D.J. Augustin was signed last summer to play some big minutes at point guard….but that just didn’t work out too well. Augustin played in 76 games (5 starts) for the Pacers last year and he averaged 16.1 minutes, 4.7 points, 1.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Augustin only shot 35% from the floor and 35.3% from three point range last year. Augustin scored 10 or more points in a game 10 times last year and he had 9 games with at least 5 assists last year for the Pacers.