California’s of the mosSan Francisco Andrew Nembhard never appeared hurried or agitated during his 41 minutes on the court successful team in professional basketball during the previous ten years.
Cagey veterans who, when not on the court, wear four championship rings on their fingers applied all the pressure they could muster, but they were unable to stop him from waltzing into the paint and to his spots at will. He began each possession by chasing the most prolific 3-point shooter in history around, but he rarely looked out of place while playing defense, and he contributed to making that All-World player miserable.Every possession began with him chasing the most effective 3-point shooter to ever walk the Earth around, but he rarely seemed out of place while playing defense, and he contributed to the misery of that All-World player. He just had a G League two-way player to backstop him, but when it was all done, he strolled off the court looking like he still had another 41 minutes to offer. He continued talking about it all after almost remaining motionless, as though he were discussing a Saturday morning workout in a park. Andrew Nembhard
In the injury-riddled, out-manned Pacers’ slump-busting 112-104 victory over the NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Monday night at the sold-out Chase Center, Nembhard’s 31-point, 13-assist performance stands out for how effortless he made it look.
Since the Pacers have never been in worse shape than they were Monday night, the rookie from Gonzaga may have produced the most significant individual performance by any Indiana player thus far this season. Andrew Nembhard
The Pacers were coming off three straight losses and four defeats in five games during their longest road trip to the west in 37 years, and the game was the second night of a back-to-back. Before they departed Indianapolis for seven games over the course of 12 days on the road, the season had been an expectation-defying joyride. However, each of the four losses was by double digits, and two of them were by more than 20 points. Without backup point guard T.J. McConnell (non-COVID sickness) and possible All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton (sore groin) for the second consecutive game, the Pacers appeared to have little chance of slowing the tide. Soon before the start of the game, coach Rick Carlisle announced the star Myles Turner, a center, would also be out due to a hamstring injury.
Nembhard’s performance in this crucial game for the Pacers was the best of his brief professional career. He had only reached double figures seven times in 19 games, but he more than doubled his previous career best of 16 points.
Carlisle said that “his effect on this game was huge.”
The Pacers have been repeatedly reminded of how lucky they are to have Nembhard on a road trip where so many of their weaknesses have been highlighted.
Despite having modest college stats (10.0 points and 5.3 assists per game in two seasons each at Florida and Gonzaga), Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard was adamant that Nembhard be taken in the draft. He never scored more than 25 points in a game, and he never ranked higher than third on his own team in scoring. He was overshadowed on a national level because he was a member of talented teams all four years and loaded teams at Gonzaga, teaming with lottery picks and All-Americans like Jalen Suggs, Drew Timme, Chet Holmgren, and Corey Kispert.