Frank Vogel was all smiles while discussing the addition of Luis Scola to the Pacers and the improved bench he has to work with next season. As he listed all of the positive changes for the bench, Vogel also brought up what could be a touchy subject: How to handle Danny Granger's return and Lance Stephenson's role in the starting lineup?
Vogel doesn't bother with touchy and instead keeps it real, listing the "Danny Granger/Lance Stephenson dynamic" among the changes that will give him more options to utilize. But mentioning the two in that manner, sends a subtle signal that Granger is not going to just jump right back into a starting role after missing nearly all of last season.
Making the assumption that Granger will be healthy enough for his game to resemble what he delivered two years ago, that still doesn't mean he is better off starting next year. The thought of him playing on the second unit with Scola is quite pleasing to the senses. Also, keeping Stephenson developing in a starting role, but as the fifth option on the floor also seems like the most productive way to go.
But as Vogel said later in the interview, "We'll see."
When asked directly about how he expects the roles of Granger and Stephenson to play out, Vogel committed to nothing other than planning to have both players approach the situation with the most positive mindset possible and then see what happens from there.
"I don't have a preconceived notion of how it's going to play out," Vogel told Mark Montieth on Pacers.com. "We'll see how it plays out. I want Lance Stephenson fighting to not give up the starting spot, but willing to play off the bench if he needs to. I want Danny coming back thinking he's going to come back as our best player. I want both of those guys approaching it that way and then we'll see how it plays out."
Obviously, there are only two possible outcomes here, so it is quite possible we will see both players take their turn in the starting lineup. But as fun as it is to consider the options of Stephenson starting with Granger off the bench or vice versa, considering the situation will be far more meaningful if Granger can actually return as hoped and remain an option for the Pacers in whatever role works best.
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- Pacers Offseason: Luis Scola in town, Pacers ready to 'go for it all'
- Indy Cornrows Courtside Podcast: Ian Levy
- Pacers acquire Luis Scola from Suns for Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee, first rounder
- Stein: Gerald Green, draft considerations part of Pacers deal for Luis Scola
- Pacers Trade Rumors: Reports have Pacers trading for PF Luis Scola