Hoosiers In The NBA: 2016-2017 Midseason Grades

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Even though All-Star Weekend is still a few weeks away, each team has already played more than half of their regular season games, meaning we have technically passed the halfway point of the season. Let’s take this time to grade how each former Hoosier is doing so far this season based on expectations coming into this season. Let’s start with the two rookies:


Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell: Guard, Brooklyn Nets/Dallas Mavericks:

Season Averages:

6.8ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.3apg, 0.67spg, 0.17bpg, 1.3tpg, 1.3fpg, 38.4% FG, 32.4% 3FG, 70.0% FT, 18.8mpg (12 games)

Recent Game Logs:

@ San Antonio (W 105-101): 9 points (3-9 FG)(2-2 FT), 2 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 3 personal fouls, 36 minutes.

vs Cleveland (W 104-97): 19 points (7-15 FG)(2-2 FT), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, 2 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 38 minutes.

Midseason Review: After 10 decent but not that memorable games with the Brooklyn Nets, Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell was given a second chance this past weekend when he signed a 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks. Since signing that contract he’s started two games and has led the last-place Mavericks to wins against the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While he will likely see a big reduction in playing time once Deron Williams comes back, Ferrell’s two performances should warrant at minimum another 10-day contract from the Mavericks. He’s making the most of this opportunity after being limited during his stay with the Nets, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up signing a permanent contract either with the Mavericks or with another NBA team in need of solid point guard play.

Midseason Grade: B


Troy Williams: Forward, Memphis Grizzlies:

Season Averages:

5.3ppg, 1.8rpg, 0.8apg, 1.00spg, 0.38bpg, 1.1tpg, 1.8fpg, 41.8% FG, 24.4% 3FG, 60.0% FT, 17.4mpg (24 games)

Recent Game Logs:

N/A

Midseason Review: Like Ferrell, Troy Williams also had a chance to show off what he could do for the Memphis Grizzlies earlier in the season. While he held his own on the court, it wasn’t enough as he was buried on the bench when the Grizzlies became healthier and just this past week was released to make room for Toney Douglas.

However, that doesn’t mean Williams has had a bad season. While he still has a lot to work on, the fact that he averaged a steal per game is very impressive. He’s become a very hard worker and a serviceable defender. I expect the Grizzlies to call him back up to the roster before the end of the season if another team doesn’t pick him up on waivers before then.

Midseason Grade: C+


Eric Gordon: Guard, Houston Rockets:

Season Averages:

17.3ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.8apg, 0.60spg, 0.51bpg, 1.8tpg, 2.1fpg, 42.0% FG, 38.8% 3FG, 84.1% FT, 30.5mpg (47 games)

Recent Game Logs:

vs New York (W 129-122): 15 points (5-19 FG), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, steal, 2 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 32 minutes.

vs Washington (W 101-91): 31 points (11-18 FG)(3-4 FT), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, block, 3 turnovers, 4 personal fouls, 36 minutes.

vs Oklahoma City (W 118-116): 22 points (8-20 FG)(1-1 FT), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 29 minutes.

@ Orlando (W 100-93): 17 points (7-20 FG), 3 rebounds, 4 assists, steal, 3 personal fouls, 32 minutes.

@ Toronto (W 129-122): 19 points (7-16 FG)(4-4 FT), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, block, 2 personal fouls, 33 minutes.

vs Charlotte (W 121-114): DNP – injury

@ Minnesota (L 119-105): DNP – injury

vs Memphis (L 110-105): 13 points (4-11 FG)(2-2 FT), rebound, assist, 2 turnovers, 3 personal fouls, 31 minutes.

@ Brooklyn (W 137-112): 24 points (9-14 FG)(2-3 FT), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 28 minutes.

@ Miami (L 109-103): 7 points (3-17 FG), rebound, assist, block, 3 turnovers, 30 minutes.

vs Milwaukee (W 111-92): 25 points (9-20 FG), 4 rebounds, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 32 minutes.

vs Golden State (L 125-108): 6 points (2-14 FG)(2-2 FT), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, turnover, personal foul, 33 minutes.

@ Memphis (W 119-95): 21 points (7-16 FG)(4-4 FT), 3 rebounds, 5 assists, steal, block, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 30 minutes.

@ Milwaukee (L 127-114): 9 points (3-9 FG), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 28 minutes.

@ Boston (L 120-109): DNP – injury

@ Philadelphia (W 123-118): DNP – injury

@ Indiana (L 120-101): 14 points (4-11 FG)(5-7 FT), rebound, 3 assists, block, 2 turnovers, 4 personal fouls, 26 minutes.

Midseason Review: Eric Gordon has been a perfect fit in Houston as he is by far the leading candidate for Sixth Man Of The Year. His chemistry with James Harden has been awesome, and the way he’s turned the Rockets’ bench from a weakness to a strength has helped make this a dangerous team.

The only reason I’m not giving Gordon a perfect grade is because his performance has slipped the past month. In particular, he’s shot a shockingly bad 29.8% on three-pointers during the month of January and is attempting an astounding 10.3 deep balls a game.

He’s also missed four games in the last three weeks, which isn’t normally bad but considering Gordon’s injury history and the fact that he hadn’t missed a game until recently, there may be some worry about whether or not he’s slowing down. Overall he’s still having a phenomenal season but not enough for a perfect grade.

Midseason Grade: A


Victor Oladipo: Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder:

Season Averages:

16.2ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.6apg, 1.15spg, 0.31bpg, 1.6tpg, 2.2fpg, 45.3% FG, 37.3% 3FG, 69.8% FT, 34.0mpg (39 games)

Recent Game Logs:

vs Los Angeles Clippers (W 114-88): 15 points (4-9 FG)(5-5 FT), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 5 personal fouls, 29 minutes.

@ Milwaukee (L 98-94): 18 points (7-12 FG), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, steal, 2 turnovers, 4 personal fouls, 35 minutes.

@ Charlotte (L 123-112): 18 points (7-20 FG)(1-2 FT), 3 rebounds, 5 assists, steal, 3 turnovers, 5 personal fouls, 36 minutes.

@ Houston (L 118-116): 17 points (6-16 FG)(1-2 FT), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, steal, turnover, 3 personal fouls, 41 minutes.

vs Denver (W 121-106): 15 points (7-19 FG)(1-2 FT), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, block, 3 personal fouls, 33 minutes.

@ Chicago (W 109-94): 13 points (6-9 FG), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, turnover, 4 personal fouls, 25 minutes.

vs Memphis (W 103-95): 16 points (5-10 FG)(2-3 FT), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, turnover, personal foul, 32 minutes.

@ Minnesota (L 96-86): 19 points (8-18 FG)(2-2 FT), 5 rebounds, steal, turnover, 33 minutes.

@ Sacramento (W 122-118): 23 points (7-14 FG)(8-8 FT), rebound, 2 assists, 2 steals, block, 2 turnovers, 3 personal fouls, 40 minutes.

@ Los Angeles Clippers (L 120-98): 6 points (3-11 FG), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, turnover, personal foul, 24 minutes.

@ Golden State (L 121-100): 20 points (8-17 FG), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, block, 2 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 37 minutes.

@ Utah (W 97-95): 18 points (8-11 FG)(1-2 FT), 4 rebounds, assist, 2 steals, 5 personal fouls, 30 minutes.

@ New Orleans (W 114-105): 15 points (5-11 FG)(2-3 FT), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, turnover, personal foul, 35 minutes.

vs Dallas (W 109-98): 17 points (7-14 FG)(2-2 FT), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 2 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 36 minutes.

@ Cleveland (L 107-91): 17 points (6-18 FG)(4-5 FT), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, turnover, 3 personal fouls, 38 minutes.

Midseason Review: When Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder, a lot of people , including myself, thought Victor Oladipo would see a huge statistical jump as he became Russell Westbrook’s new running partner and maybe even get some All-Star buzz.

Instead we have a slightly overall improved Oladipo with a greatly improved three-point shot. Now to be fair, I don’t think many predicted that Westbrook would put forth a superhuman effort and sustain it through an entire season like he’s currently doing. As a result, there aren’t as many extra points to go around as first thought.

The next step for Oladipo is to become more aggressive and earn Westbrook’s trust enough to help burden the scoring load. That likely won’t happen this season as Westbrook looks like a man on a mission to prove he can carry a team by himself, but little by little we’re seeing Oladipo and Westbrook connect and soon we may get that All-Star level play from Oladipo. But for now Oladipo gets credit for his most efficient shooting season of his career.

Midseason Grade: B-


Noah Vonleh: Forward, Portland Trail Blazers:

Season Averages:

3.4ppg, 3.8rpg, 0.2apg, 0.37spg, 0.34bpg, 0.7tpg, 1.6fpg, 42.2% FG, 35.0% 3FG, 62.2% FT, 12.6mpg (41 games)

Recent Game Logs:

@ Minnesota (W 95-89): 0 points (0-0 FG), rebound, 2 personal fouls, 7 minutes.

@ Golden State (L 125-117): 2 points (1-3 FG), 4 rebounds, 7 minutes.

vs Los Angeles Lakers (W 118-109): 0 points (0-1 FG)(0-2 FT), rebound, turnover, personal foul, 4 minutes.

vs Detroit (L 125-124): 0 points (0-0 FG), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 13 minutes.

@ Los Angeles Lakers (W 108-87): 0 points (0-0 FG), personal foul, 6 minutes.

vs Cleveland (W 102-86): 2 points (0-1 FG)(2-2 FT), 3 rebounds, block, personal foul, 4 minutes.

vs Orlando (L 115-109): DNP – coach’s decision

@ Washington (L 120-101): 10 points (4-5 FG)(2-5 FT), 8 rebounds, assist, personal foul, 20 minutes.

@ Charlotte (L 107-85): 4 points (2-10 FG), 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 18 minutes.

@ Philadelphia (L 93-92): 10 points (4-6 FG)(1-3 FT), 5 rebounds, steal, 3 personal fouls, 26 minutes.

@ Boston (W 127-123): 8 points (4-8 FG), 6  rebounds, 3 steals, 2 turnovers, 6 personal fouls, 17 minutes.

vs Los Angeles Lakers (W 105-98): 8 points (4-6 FG), 10 rebounds, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 20 minutes.

vs Memphis (W 112-109): 0 points (0-1 FG), 3 rebounds, 4 personal fouls, 16 minutes.

vs Golden State (L 113-111): 4 points (2-4 FG), 5 rebounds, assist, steal, 2 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 18 minutes.

Midseason Review: Until recently, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed in Noah Vonleh’s progress. He was playing fewer minutes and was abandoning the three-point shot altogether. Thankfully things have changed recently.

Last season, Vonleh was placed in the starting lineup to carve out playing time for him and also to get his game going. The result was 4.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game on 42.2% shooting during his 56 starts compared to 2.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game on 41.7% shooting coming off the bench.

Two weeks ago, Vonleh was again placed in the starting lineup to get him going and he’s shown a much larger improvement in the role this season. During his nine starts, he’s averaging 5.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game on 46.2% shooting compared to 2.7 points and 3.0 rebounds on 39.5% shooting coming off the bench. While not a huge jump from last season, it is the first noticeable improvement we’ve seen out of Vonleh this season and hopefully points to more improvement down the road.

Midseason Grade: C


Cody Zeller: Forward, Charlotte Hornets:

Season Averages:

10.9ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.4apg, 0.74spg, 1.08bpg, 1.2tpg, 3.2fpg, 59.0% FG, 0.0% 3FG, 68.9% FT, 26.9mpg (38 games)

Recent Game Logs:

vs Cleveland (L 121-109): 6 points (3-3 FG), rebound, 3 assists, block, turnover, 4 personal fouls, 19 minutes.

@ Chicago (L 118-111): DNP – concussion

vs Oklahoma City (W 123-112): DNP – concussion

@ Detroit (L 115-114): DNP – concussion

@ San Antonio (L 102-85): 9 points (3-5 FG)(3-4 FT), 9 rebounds, assist, steal, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 33 minutes.

@ Houston (L 121-114): DNP – illness

@ Philadelphia (L 102-93): 16 points (6-14 FG)(4-4 FT), 10 rebounds, assist, 3 steals, block, 3 turnovers, 5 personal fouls, 36 minutes.

@ Boston (L 108-98): 13 points (5-7 FG)(3-4 FT), 8 rebounds, 2 assists, block, 2 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 31 minutes.

vs Portland (W 107-85): 6 points (3-7 FG), 10 rebounds, block, 2 turnovers, 4 personal fouls, 25 minutes.

vs Toronto (W 113-78): 11 points (4-6 FG)(3-4 FT), 3 rebounds, assist, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 23 minutes.

vs Brooklyn (W 112-105): 12 points (5-7 FG)(2-2 FT), 9 rebounds, 3 assists, block, personal foul, 31 minutes.

vs Washington (L 109-99): 13 points (4-7 FG)(5-5 FT), 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 6 personal fouls, 35 minutes.

vs Golden State (L 113-103): DNP – injury

@ New York (L 110-107): DNP – injury

vs Sacramento (L 109-106): DNP – injury

Midseason Review: Finally out of the shadow of Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller is flourishing as the starting center of the Charlotte Hornets. In fact he’s starting to play like the Cody Zeller that all Indiana Hoosier fans remember fondly.

A master of setting screens, Zeller helps the Hornets offense flow and serves as the perfect pick-and-roll partner for Kemba Walker. He’s also finally shooting at a high rate as his 59% shooting is such a drastic improvement from the 42.6% he shot three years ago during his rookie season. He’s also averaging double-digit points for the first time in his NBA career.

The only negative is that all the extra playing time has led to Zeller taking a bigger beating than usual and the result is 10 missed games. He’s shown he has the skill to be a good center in this league, but can he physically keep up against bigger guys? I think he will eventually but right now he’s getting accustomed to handling the bigger responsibility.

Midseason Grade: B+

Blackmon And McRoberts Step Up In Win Over Michigan State

With the loss of OG Anunoby, the Indiana Hoosiers know they need multiple players to step up to make up for his impact. During the Hoosiers’ 82-75 win over Michigan State on Saturday, those players were the unlikely duo of James Blackmon Jr. and Zach McRoberts.

Already averaging a team-high 17.5 points per game, Blackmon went above and beyond his usual scoring performance as he hit his first six shots (four of which were three-pointers) and finished with 33 points, tying his career-best scoring performance.

“He was ready to shoot,” said Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean. “His teammates did a great job getting him open. He (also) did a great job getting himself open with setups. His lift was good.”

Blackmon’s hot start was part of an incredible shooting display from the Hoosiers in the first half, as Indiana made its first six shot attempts from behind the arc.

“It makes it easier for all of us when (Blackmon) is hitting shots like that,” said Robert Johnson, who also provided an offensive spark with 17 points. “Guys have to try to make a plan to stop him, and that just opens up even more for us.”

While not as flashy as Blackmon’s performance, McRoberts played just as vital of a role in making up for the absence of Anunoby.

The walk-on from Carmel was a surprising choice for the fifth starter, but the risk paid off as McRoberts had his fingerprints all over this game as he finished with three points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block in 32 minutes of play. He also led the team in +/- with a +14 and deflections with an incredible 16.

“We know what Zach (McRoberts) can do. That’s why we’re confident when he’s out there,” said Blackmon about McRoberts’ impact. “He brings that energy and he does the little things that we need.”

McRoberts’ numbers are magnified because of the direct impact they made. Three of his five rebounds were on the offensive end, one of which set up an easy three-pointer for Blackmon that gave Indiana a 9-8 lead that the Hoosiers wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the game. He even made his only three-point attempt when the Spartan defense played too far off him.

“He works extremely hard,” said Crean. “He’s one of those guys that he wants to make (his teammates) better but he’s got to be reminded that he’s pretty good too.”

The performances of McRoberts and Blackmon showed that the Hoosiers have players capable of stepping up in Anunoby’s absence. It won’t always be them in particular but it reassured fans that the Hoosiers as a team are taking the challenge head-on instead of possibly using it as an excuse. The next few games will let us know who else on the team is ready to rise to the challenge.

Three Ways IU Can Rebound From Current Three Game Losing Streak

At the midpoint of the college basketball season, the Indiana Hoosiers are going in the wrong direction. The Hoosiers’ 75-68 loss against the Wisconsin Badgers on Tuesday night marked the third straight loss for Indiana and fourth loss in six games.

However like I said, there is still a second half of the season to play and plenty of time for the Hoosiers to rebound from this slump and peak going into March. Here are three ways Indiana can improve during the rest of the season:

More De’Ron Davis: There was a five-minute span in the second half against Wisconsin when De’Ron Davis could not be stopped. Against Badger forwards Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes, Davis was unfazed as he was given the ball in the post on four of six possessions, scoring three times and splitting a pair of free throws on the fourth possession.

As we near midseason, Davis is now 100% healthy and is ready for more playing time. He doesn’t need to necessarily start every game with Thomas Bryant, even though the two have worked well together quite often. Davis has been brilliant offensively in the post on a limited basis, and having out on the court more may help draw defenses’ attention from the three-point line where the Hoosiers have shot just 32.8% (20 of 61) the last three games.

Avoid Live-Ball Turnovers: With the pace that Indiana plays, getting rid of turnovers altogether is going to be a tall order to fill. However, the Hoosiers can make their lives so much easier if they just limited live-ball turnovers.

The Hoosiers are capable of neutralizing their high turnover rate because their elite offensive rebounding creates enough second-chance shots to even it out. Yet it’s when a turnover is compounded by an easy basket by the opposition that it becomes too hard for the Hoosiers to overcome their mistakes. Nebraska, Louisville, and Wisconsin averaged 21 points off of turnovers during Indiana’s current losing streak. Cut that number in half and Indiana would have won two of those games.

Avoid Getting Into Big Holes: One reoccurring theme in all five of Indiana’s losses this season is that the Hoosiers have fallen behind by double-digits, causing them to exert all of their energy to even up the game again only to run out of gas near the end.

  • Fort Wayne led by 10 with 16:04 left in the first half, and then led by 12 with 9:49 left in the second half
  • Butler led by 14 at half and by as much as 16 with 19:23 left in the second half
  • Nebraska led by 12 with 10:33 left in the first half
  • Louisville led by 12 at half and by as much as 16 with 5:50 left in the second half
  • Wisconsin opened the game on a 13-0 run and led by 14 with 16:09 left in the first half

Compare that to the North Carolina game, where Indiana never trailed at all during the game. Of course it’s unrealistic to expect that in every game so let’s compare it to the Kansas game:

The Jayhawks’ biggest lead was by nine points with 18:44 left in the second half. Over the next four minutes, the Hoosiers responded with a 14-5 run that tied the game up at 56. From there the lead changed 15 times and was tied another eight times before Indiana came out on top. The reason IU did come out on top was that they took a five point lead with 3:45 left in the second half and effectively flipped the script with Kansas having to claw its way back.

I’m not saying the Hoosiers are incapable of overcoming double-digit deficits. It’s just that the Hoosiers need to find out a way to avoid falling behind by so much, because it’s a lot easier to win a game when your sole focus doesn’t become trying to overcome a big deficit.