Sorry for the onslaught. I have a new computer and for whatever reason Windows 7/Explorer 8 wasn't letting me post new FanPosts. Just responses.
So, before I prepare my post game 5 trade Granger rant....Let me speak my mind on what I've seen so far and what I think of the team direction.This team has some good players. This team has some talent. This team has some upside. This team has some excitement.
This team has some holes to fill. This team has some question marks. This team is putting a lot of weight on some marginal players and expecting phenomenal results. This team is a long way from meeting the fans expectations of title contention.
I think this team needs to stay relevant. Granger won't keep us relevant. Locally or nationally. He will win us 3, 4, 5, maybe even 10 more games than just not having him here. But, the difference between being 37-45 and 28-54 is only a few million dollars to the owners. But, if that difference produces top-notch young talent a year or two down the road via trades and draft picks, then is the 8-10 extra losses and 2-3,000 loss of seats sold worth the short term monetary loss? Absolutely!
We've had this discussion ad-nauseum for years now. At this point, Granger isn't going to net us a top 5 guaranteed pick in this bumper draft class coming up...either as a Pacer winning enough games to keep us out of the lotto or as a trade piece bringing back a draft pick. Granger is a good player. Capable of just about anything you'd want to ask from a 2nd tier wing basketball player, but no team is going to give us a top 5 pick for him with the new salary structure. So, let's see what we can do with him as our top dog, and ask that he realize that we also want to see what others can do.
Last year this team looked really good during stretches of games where they focused on dribble penetration and ball movement. Maybe it was just the fact that we almost always had a shooter standing on the elbows waiting to jack up a 3pt. shot (Danny and Rush). Maybe it was some magical mixture of Vogel's aggressive attacking style and JOB's shoot any 3 you get style that made for what seemed to be a solid offensive approach. But, we did move the ball. Maybe it was playing weak teams that collapsed on our mediocre penetration and Rush and Granger's refusal to do anything but wait for kick-outs...but we moved the ball. I've seen it some this season, but now we don't have killers waiting to shoot it. Danny is finally pushing the ball and penetrating and he looks pretty good doing it. Even though haters like myself will not want to admit it, Danny has looked pretty impressive forcing the action. His sub .400 shooting percentage could probably be improved to an acceptable rate if he'd learn when to pass and others shots would fall, but for the time being, I'm satisfied with his effort on both ends of the court.
If we can find the magic again and just shoot the ball when the shot is there (and convert at a respectable rate), continue the solid 'D', and not force bad shots or silly turn-overs we can win 35+ games this year. And that equates to almost 50 wins in a normal season.
I love Danny, and think he's a very solid player worth nearly what he's being paid on the right team. I won't say trade him now, but expect me to argue the positives of moving him in the future pending some very specific variables.
In the meantime. This team has the defensive capabilities and offensive depth to be a thorn in the side of any team in playoffs. If the two Jeffs can get healthy enough to play 18+ productive body banging, board crashing, shot blocking, smart fouling minutes per game...this team can position themselves to have a favorable first round match up. With some luck and smart usage, all of our key players can be healthy and fresh come late April and we can actually earn this franchise some money from the box office in the post season.
In the meantime, we have got to learn how to move the ball and get better shots. I really wish McBob was still here, b/c for all his faults, having another big in the rotation that could eat up fouls and pass the ball to cutters...and even be a solid weakside defender and fast break facilitator...I think it would've been worth the $3-4mil. to keep him.
Anyway. Go Pacers. I'm expecting big things, but won't be too disappointed if we fail. Just sadly justified.