Pacers Summer League Grades: Starters struggle against Kings

The Indiana Pacers fell to the Sacramento Kings in their second Summer League game 103-96 in a showdown between two top draft picks in Bennedict Mathurin and Keegan Murray.

Chris Duarte sat this one out after he looked too good for these summer exhibitions in game one and the Pacers starting lineup missed him, but some guys that didn’t play in the first game had nice showings today. Without further ado, let’s jump into the grades:

Bennedict Mathurin – C+

Mathurin’s final line of 15 points (6 of 16), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 turnover sums up an okay performance decently in this one. His numbers easily could have looked better if just a couple more things fell his way: 2 of 5 from the free-throw line, missed all three of his catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts, and couldn’t buy a whistle on a few drives to the rim.

Mathurin started off this one in identical fashion to the previous game with a 3-pointer. This time catching the ball on the wing from Andrew Nembhard and pump faking into a one-dribble side-step triple that was very smooth.

He then added a mid-range bucket on a snake dribble to the elbow and drove by Murray to finish over Neemias Queta, who played like Prime Roy Hibbert defensively before leaving with a calf injury, for a quick 7 points in his opening stretch.

Mathurin drove to the rim a lot in this one with mixed results. Sometimes it resulted in highlight finishes like the above and a dunk on a straight-line drive and on others he was stripped of the ball or initiated contact but couldn’t get the whistle. He ended up making just 3 of his 8 attempts in the paint.

His passing remains a work in progress. He did manage his first assist in two games on a nasty lob finish to Isaiah Jackson where he missed Jackson on a similar pass in the first game. He only had one turnover but it was a bad skip pass attempt to a guy in the corner that was telegraphed and easily picked off by the defender. He almost had another turnover early on a pass but the ball was tipped before going out of bounds. As with the drives, even if things aren’t successful, these are important reps for Mathurin to try to grow as a player. The best highlight of all from this game was his interview during the second quarter where despite some audio issues, you could at least hear this gem:

Kendall Brown – B+

The rookie second-round pick played well in this one adding 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in 19 minutes. Brown was part of a bench group that kept the Pacers close with the starters struggling as they outscored Kings by 19 while he was on the floor.

The biggest impression that Brown has made through these two games is that he absolutely loves to get out and run in transition. Anytime he gets the ball whether on a rebound or a steal, he’s ready to go. Like this one where he rebounds the ball at the basket and speeds by two Kings defenders then throws the lob to Simi Shittu to beat the others that were back.

His athleticism was on full display with a well-timed cut on a Gabe York drive and dime and a beautiful finish where he hung in the air long enough to get the ball in on a reverse layup.

Terry Taylor – B+

Taylor easily had the best game out of all the Pacers starters finishing with 16 points (5 of 8) and 7 rebounds. He also had the tough task of guarding Keegan Murray for most of the game and overall did a good job. Until the last few minutes where Murray put away the Pacers for good, he had just 15 points on 13 shot attempts. Taylor challenged his 3-point attempts well and made him work on the defensive end, taking him to the basket and out-working him for rebounds like he does against everyone.

Carlisle praised him during the first game as a guy that’s going to be in the league a long time as a system player that doesn’t make mistakes.

Isaiah Jackson – C+

Jackson’s grade is boosted up slightly just for his filthy throw down on the Mathurin lob but it was a disappointing performance for the second-year big.

Overall, Jackson got outplayed by Queta, who was +23 in 17 minutes, on both ends. Jackson gave up a couple of uncontested jumpers to Queta where he clearly wasn’t expecting him to even look at the basket but he made both. Jackson finished with 7 points and 8 rebounds. He was 3 for 6 overall and did have a couple of nice pogo stick blocks. But the Pacers were outscored by 28 points in his 26 minutes in this one.

Andrew Nembhard – C

Nembhard had his moments but after looking like someone in complete control in his first game he struggled to take care of the ball against Frankie Ferrari (an A+ name) committing five of the Pacers 17 turnovers. Nembhard had a couple great drives to the basket and hit another triple in this one. He also earned the praise of Tyrese Haliburton who mentioned him when asked who has impressed him the most on the Summer League roster. He finished with 13 points (5 of 9), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal.

Duane Washington Jr. – C-

Washington Jr. continues to struggle a bit with his shot in Vegas making just 3 of 8 attempts and missing both 3-pointers. He was back to his more standard off-ball role in this starting group with no Duarte but he had no assists in this one after having six in the first game. A very bleh game for Duane. He and Nembhard were -24 and -25 while on the floor today. He’ll want to find his footing a bit with his contract guarantee date coming soon.

Simi Shittu – B+

Shittu was solid adding 8 points (4 for 5) and 7 rebounds in just 14 minutes. He was another part of the bench group that played well together. He and Kendall Brown connected on a few plays early including the lob in Brown’s section, and Shittu made a hustle play later in the game that led to an acrobatic finish for Brown.

Gabe York – B

York looks like the veteran of the group out there generally which he should at 28 years old. He made a nice stepback triple to end the third quarter and continues to make plays with his passing adding another four assists today including setting up Brown for a dunk.

Nate Hinton – B+

Hinton only played 11 minutes but he made his presence felt with 8 points (3 for 4), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. He had a tough and-one finish, a dunk in transition, and made a 3-pointer.

David DiLeo – B

DiLeo looked like Dirk Nowitzki for a brief stretch in the second half wearing number 41. DiLeo scored 9 points and added 2 assists. All six of his field goal attempts were 3-pointers and he made half of them. A very solid night for the stretch-four shooter.

The Pacers next game is against the Detroit Pistons who likely will not be playing Jaden Ivey who suffered an ankle injury in his previous Summer League game. The game is on Tuesday at 9 p.m.


2 thoughts on “Pacers Summer League Grades: Starters struggle against Kings”

    1. Shittu didn’t get an Exhibit 10 deal as far as I know so he likely will not be with the Pacers during training camp or have a shot to make the roster unless that changes.


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