Houston Rockets vs Indiana Pacers: Players to watch
The players to watch on the Indiana Pacers are Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin. As a quick aside, Haliburton wears #0, and Mathurin wears #00. Tyrese Haliburton has emerged as one of the game’s brightest young stars. He’s averaging 20.6 points on 49.2% shooting and 42.4% 3-point shooting, a league-leading 10.4 assists, 1.9 steals, and only 3.0 turnovers per game.
His advanced metrics are also fantastic. He’s 10th in box plus/minus, seventh in offensive box plus/minus, 10th in win shares per 48 minutes, 14th in Raptor WAR, and fifth in overall offensive Raptor. Haliburton has played like a legit star this season and has been trending up his whole career. He has pulled off the rare feat of raising his usage rate and offensive rating each season. The Kings trading him, even for a great player in Domantas Sabonis, is still one of the most baffling decisions since the Kings decided to not draft Luka Doncic second overall.
Bennedict Mathurin, the man whose name spell check hates, is having a rookie season for the ages. He’s averaging 19.9 points on 46.2% shooting and 45.5% 3-point shooting in 27.6 minutes per game off the bench. On a per-minute basis, his offensive production looks like a slightly watered-down version of Jayson Tatum.
Can Mathurin continue to hit 45.5% of his 3-pointers on 5.9 attempts per game? It’s unlikely, but bad shooters rarely have stretches this good, so it’s safe to assume he can remain an effective high-volume 3-point shooter. Mathurin isn’t just a 3-point specialist. He’s also getting to the line 5.9 times per game.
Mathurin has struggled to convert shots around the rim and in the floater range, but by getting to the line so frequently and scorching the nets from beyond the arc, he leads all rookies in offensive box plus/minus and offensive Raptor rating. If he isn’t the Rookie of the Year frontrunner right now, then the award is functionally pointless.