Lack of off ball movement is leaving the Pacers frustrated

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Lance Stephenson and Roy Hibbert share the expression of everyone else watching the Pacers offense in the month of March. The matchup with San Antonio highlighted Indiana's inability to get offense from consistent off ball movement.

The Pacers offense has completely disappeared. The familiarities of Indiana’s offense are nowhere to be found.

The screening is lazy; when is the last time the Pacers got multiple open threes off of pin-down screens? The cuts are lazy; when is the last time a guard cut behind Roy Hibbert posting up and got an easy layup?

On top of weak screens and bad cuts, the Pacers off ball movement is atrocious. And the result is turnovers and contested jump shots. It was no different against San Antonio.

Here in the first quarter, the Pacers tried to get the ball to Hibbert in the post. Luis Scola is also in the lane and Paul George and Evan Turner are standing and pointing.


George Hill feeds the ball to Hibbert, but notice where Hibbert catches the ball.


He’s been pushed out to 15 feet. Hibbert is no position to get up a decent shot, and Indiana has wasted nearly half of the shot clock trying to get him the ball on the block.


Hibbert skips the ball to the corner to Paul George, who dribbles around in the corner before driving and passing to Scola in the lane. The ball is deflected, and the Spurs come up with a steal.

Now the Pacers burned through the shot clock; it is down to six seconds when George actually starts to drive. But check out how far any of the Pacers have moved. Turner has slid from the wing to the top of the key, and Scola has gone from the block to the elbow.

That’s it. That’s all the movement the Pacers managed on this possession.

There were no cuts through the lane. There were no screens on this possession. Indiana looked for Hibbert to post up and once he was voided, the Pacers relied on Paul George to just make something happen.

Also note that the Spurs are in the midst of switching defenders. Hill did a good job of pushing the ball up, which led to Tony Parker guarding Luis Scola and Tiago Splitter guarding Evan Turner.

First, the Pacers don’t look to take advantage of either of these potential mismatches. Secondly, the Spurs have a really easy time switching back to the defensive matchups they want because the Pacers are standing still.

If Turner or George made a cut through the lane, or if Scola had gone to set a back screen for Hill, then the Spurs wouldn’t have had such an easy time rotating on the weak side. But no, the Pacers remain still, allowing the Spurs to switch.

Now in the fourth quarter, the Pacers had a chance to get within five points. So, the Pacers went with a Paul George isolation. (To be fair, George is in the top 20 percent in the NBA in isolation efficiency, and the Pacers are seventh best in isolations as a team, per Synergy Sports.)


That’s Paul George on the far side with the ball.


That’s Paul George firing up a contested, mid-range jumper, three seconds later.

But this isn’t all on George. There is basically no movement. There is no one even available to catch a pass except for Hill at the top of the key. Scola and Ian Mahinmi actually run away from George.

The Pacers have a lot of problems. But too many possessions come up empty because Indiana simply refuses to move.

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