With Myles Turner spraining his right ankle against the Thunder and Kevin Seraphin listed as questionable for tonight’s game against the Warriors after X-Rays on his sore left knee came back negative, it is likely that Christmas finds himself back with the Pacers to provide precautionary depth.
Converting only one field goal and finishing a team-worst minus-24 in 19 minutes last night with the Mad Ants, he certainly didn’t earn his trip back down I-69. Instead, he validated concerns regarding his propensity to get himself into foul trouble by committing six fouls — including a flagrant — against the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
“Rak obviously had a tough night, but our bench totally stepped up for us,” Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey told the Journal Gazette’s Justin A. Cohn.
Given that he racked up five or more fouls in 19 of the 48 games he played with Indiana’s D-League affiliate last season, Cohn argues that Christmas should make “better use of his time” with the Mad Ants.
I guess one could argue that Christmas, who was an all-star last season before a lukewarm second half, only returned to Fort Wayne on Thursday. But he should be very familiar with the systems and, with Ben Bentil having left for China last week, was certainly in a position to make an impact.
Christmas should be with Fort Wayne for at least another game, and he really needs to start making better use of his time with the Mad Ants because I know the Pacers want him to show he’s more invested in the process.
In a considerably smaller role against tougher competition, NBA Projections estimates that Christmas would record 9.94 points and 6.59 rebounds on 44.4 percent shooting per 36 minutes with the Pacers.
If Al Jefferson is left to shoulder most of the burden at center, Christmas needs to better demonstrate that he is committed to the opportunity that has been afforded to him.