Indiana Pacers Summer League Grades: Rookies shine in their debuts

The Indiana Pacers lost their opening game in the Las Vegas Summer League the Houston Rockets by a final of 92-89, but the results of the game are meaningless.

Update: Game 2 Grades here

How did the players perform? Here’s some quick grades and recap for how they did in their first game.

Aaron Holiday: B+

Holiday did just about everything you could possibly hope for him to do in his debut. He hit tough shots both inside and out. He moved the ball well, made some nice defensive plays. Most importantly, he looked like an NBA player.

He finished with 23 points, 3 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals with 9-of-15 shooting from the field. His first three possessions of his career set the tone for his debut: 3-pointer coming off of a screen, deep 3-pointer after crossing up a big on a switch and taking it to the rack and finishing with a difficult left-hand move.

Areas for improvement in the next few games will be taking care of the ball (6 turnovers) and defending without fouling (7 fouls, players get up to 10 fouls in Summer League). He made an error late in the game by not attempting a game-tying shot but it was somewhat understandable with the scoreboard not working at the end.

Alize Johnson: A-

The Pacers 2nd-round selection only played 16 minutes but he was the Pacers second-best player in the game. He led multiple fast breaks directly off of a rebound or steal as a power forward, hit some impressive running floaters in the lane and made some nifty transition passes.

He finished with 15 points (6 for 11), 2 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal and was a team-leading +15 for the game.

You’d like to see him grab a few more rebounds since that’s what he’s most known for coming out of college, but he played very well in his debut. He missed his two jump shot attempts but they didn’t look aggressively bad though his form is atypical.

TJ Leaf: D-

The Pacers 2017 first-round pick struggled mightily in almost every way. He looked slow and unsure of himself all game. It’s important to not overreact to one Summer League game but this is not what you want to see from a player with a year of NBA experience playing against fringe-NBA players.

Leaf forced a lot of his action on offense with little success. He made only 2 of his 14 shots and scored 4 points and had three turnovers. His 10 rebounds save him from a failing grade but his defense did not look much better than it did last year.

Alex Poythress: B

Poythress got waived today and looked to be taking out his frustrations on the rim a few times. His day would have looked even better if he would have made his free throws (3 of 7). He added 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals.

Edmond Sumner: C-

Sumner got to the rim repeatedly but did very little once he got there. He made just 2 of his 9 shots and scored 6 points with 3 assists and 2 rebounds. His jumper and free throw form is not pretty. Not a great start for a guy trying to show he’s back to 100%.

Travis Leslie: B

Leslie did about the same thing that he did last season with the Pacers in the summer. He scored 15 points and pulled down 7 rebounds.

There’s not much else worth mentioning. Ben Moore did Ben Moore things, moving the ball quickly, only attempting one shot himself in 14 minutes (he missed), making a few really nice defensive plays. Bryce Alford added 3 points and 3 assists and also somehow had a nasty block shot. The Pacers only real center on the roster, Henry Sims, added 4 points and 7 rebounds.

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