What should the Indiana Pacers do when Danny Granger is ready to return to the court?
Let the man play!
What, are the Pacers are supposed to limit themselves to one wing player who can go off for 20-30 points in a game? We're talking about an improving offense that is still needs to be good consistently. Granger can make them good, at worst. Combine that with a continued focus on their league-leading defense and the Pacers will be an even tougher out once the flowers start to bloom and engines begin to wail at IMS.
There also seems to be some sentiment that Granger and/or his teammates, particularly Paul George and Lance Stephenson, won't be able to figure out roles, shots and egos. Sorry, but that seems like a fabulous problem and one Frank Vogel, along with Brian Shaw, are salivating to solve.
While Granger has been a high volume scorer in the past, there are two things to consider when looking for past performance to indicate future success (never wise with get rich schemes, nor forwards coming off of knee injuries).
First, the knee injury. Even last year, Granger was showing signs of seven years in the league while developing his "old man game" to remain effective without relying on the hops and quicks of his younger years. He may not be at full steam, if at all, until the playoffs. Regardless, Granger is a pro, knows how to play the game and better yet, execute a game plan. He also said early last year that he's scored a lot of points and had individual awards but it didn't translate to winning enough. He prefers winning.
Second, Granger's not alone out there. I'll gladly take on any argument to the fact that this will be the most talent Granger has played with since agreeing to suffer through the rebuild/JOB years. Opposing defenses can't get a big advantage by focusing on stopping Granger anymore.
Plus, assuming the knee holds up, Granger remains a quality starting wing on a decent contract which is why value-hunters like Daryl Morey in Houston are reportedly checking on his availability. Obviously, Granger isn't untouchable but the Pacers would have to be offered a mighty favorable deal to move him at this point.
Last Friday, Donnie Walsh discussed Granger and his work toward returning to the court with Sheridanhoops.com. He simply dismissed any potential problems Granger's return might bring to the team and instead focused on looking forward to his return.
Donnie Walsh on Danny Granger:
We're not pushing Danny. In a lot of ways we're leaving it up to him but we are elevating his physical activity and particularly now that we're going from let's say being on the court alone and shooting and doing exercises to now he's out there and he's going through drills and stuff like that to yesterday when he went out and played in a scrimmage, a half-court scrimmage. We'll continue that and you know, each one is like, how does it feel now, how does it feel now. So far, it's all been thumbs up on all of it, so we feel very good about that.
Having not seen Danny out there with the other players, yesterday (last Thursday) I was at the practice and I forgot how strong and what a good body he has and so that gives us an element that will help our team, as well as his skill level and talent.
For those of us who have followed the Pacers closely over the past several years, I know it's hard to imagine the Pacers having enough talent on the floor at one time that there aren't enough shots to go around. But those are nice thoughts that could become a reality soon.
So can you think of a deal that would be worth giving up Granger and hopes of a deep playoff run?