#32 / Forward / Indiana Pacers
It took us a little while to get to know what Josh McRoberts was capable of as an NBA player. Though, really, I guess you could say we still don’t know all too well what he's actually capable of as we attempt to decipher his production against his limited minutes. Josh earned some extra minutes towards the end of the 2008-09 season, and had a pair of double digit games to show for it, and multiple year resigning all but seemed to assure the franchise’s faith in the local product’s abilities and growth. But with the drafting of Tyler Hansbrough and the signing of Solomon Jones, the Pacers front court suddenly made itself far more crowded, forcing McRoberts earn his minutes.
As the season started, Josh saw very limited floor time (if any). This changed towards the end of December, where he found himself a heavy rotation player, and made great use of it, scoring 19 points in back-to-back games. This led to his first two starts of his NBA career, both he played serviceably well as Coach O’Brien searched for his perfect lineup.
From there, it became a limbo, as Josh’s spot in the rotation was almost that of a whim, seeing no floor action for weeks, only to throw up a couple of 20 minute games. McRoberts’s media highlight came after scoring a then career high 15 points in a disastrous team effort against the Los Angeles Lakers, an infamous performance Jim O’Brien would go on to call "irrelevant," which is still incredibly classy.
Whether it was irrelevant or not, Josh’s minutes continued to fluxuate, but would eventually settle into a steady flow following a double double start against Washington. In addition to averaging 6.2 PPG and 5.0 RPG in the final eleven games, Josh McRoberts woke many a sleeping Conseco FIeldhouse with timely slam dunks to raise his relevancy to 11.
So how did McBobs Impress?
As a hustle and energy guy, McRoberts gave all every time he hit the floor. Generally, you could expect him to be visible in any play in some fashion. He was a big lift off the bench with his slam dunks to pick up a droopy eyed crowd or Pacers team. He showcased solid rebounding abilities and even put forth a nice three point stroke, hitting nearly 35% of his attempts. Hey, that’s better than Mike Dunleavy.
And how did Thunderjams disappoint?
For as much as I like Josh and what he brings to the floor, I'm often left wondering if the verdict isn’t still out on his ability to be a solid rotation player for a winning franchise. In terms of minutes vs. production, he would have big games, and then have essential no shows. At this point, that’s not a huge strike against him, given his role on the floor at any given time, but there may have to be questions on his consistency as he grows. McRoberts also needs to build a consistent mid range game. He finished a large amount of his shots around the rim, but had a paltry .375 eFG% as a jump shooter, even despite decent three point numbers.
Well…what’s next for the Josh McRoberts Dunk Camp?
With the severe front court logjam and no changes in coaching philosophy, expect McRoberts to continue to have to fight for minutes, especially if the Pacers can expect a healthy Jeff Foster and Tyler Hansbrough, in addition to any potential players added through the draft or trades. Josh showcased a lot of positives this season in his limited time and his growth from last season to this is certainly noticeable and encouraging. It’ll be a big summer in terms of growing as a player that will decide his fate as a long term fixture with the Pacers franchise, but I think we might all be in his corner to become a useful rotation player for all of our best interests. In addition to growth as a player, McRoberts will most likely remain an economical player for a few more years as well, which makes him just a little more valuable.