Thanks Danny for the nearly nine seasons you gave the Indiana Pacers. For several years you were the only reason to go to Pacer games. I know this isn’t cool because being angry and negative is what is now considered cool. When you are selected 17th overall in the draft you are not likely to make the All-Star team and average 17.6 points per game for 8 plus seasons. Thanks for making those down years watchable
As a rookie his teammates included Jeff Foster and Jermaine O’Neal. He was part of a team that had gone from title contender to a team in shambles. He lead the team in scoring five consecutive seasons but all I heard on the radio was the unimaginative retort "Granger is a Robin not a Batman" as if every other team in the league has a "Batman." He was not as talented as J.O. or the flair for the dramatic as Reggie but he did not deserve some of the things I heard on the air and in the stands.
In recent years the local media has seemed to promote misconceptions about Granger (especially Mike Wells a couple of years ago). Various local talking heads promoted the impression that Granger was a selfish ball hog player. Let’s look at the 2011-12 season. This was the last year Danny was healthy and the first year the current Pacers were good. Their winning percentage in 2011-12 was .636 (the lock-out 66 game season) compared to the 2012-13 winning percentage of .593 when D.G was injured. In both of these years they lost to the Heat in the round they faced them.
During the 2011-12 Granger had the best plus/minus (by a healthy margin) on the team. That year Granger averaged a bit over 15 shots per game which is not a high total for a team’s leading scorer. The point is Granger's return to this year’s team was NEVER a serious threat to the team chemistry and was a made up controversy to fill radio time.
Granger is very intelligent. He could have attended Yale and has a degree in civil engineering from the University of New Mexico. If you are someone that is getting ready to take a shot at him please remember, he is probably smarter than you are.
From accounts I have heard, he can be aloof and quiet but he is not a thug, troublemaker or problem by any stretch. When he got into Dwyane Wade’s face in the 2012 Play-offs a lot of people ripped him. I loved it because the entitled Heat were pushing the team around and when they rolled Darren Collison nobody reacted. Someone needed to stand up to it.
Historically the Pacers have often traded the veteran for younger talent. In the past Herb Williams was traded for Detlef Schrempf or Dale Davis for a young Jermaine O’Neal and then after six All-Star appearances O’Neal was traded for Roy Hibbert.
I want to be clear that from a basketball and business standpoint the Granger trade is a no-brainer. The Pacers got younger, more athletic, more size on the bench and even lowered their payroll slightly. If you would have told me that a week ago I would have said there is no way. They flipped Granger’s $14 million salary for two guys that combine for about $10 million with the option to keep Turner next year. (LaVoy Allen is a bigger part of this move than the talking heads believe) Finally the trade may open up some more time for Rasual Butler who has earned a chance to play.
From the Philly side is there any other professional sports league where teams intentionally try to suck like they do in the NBA? Sure baseball teams trade vets for prospects but at least a couple of the prospects are supposed to have future promise. In the NBA you try to lose to make the lottery and then what? You pick in the lottery every year and never get better like the Cavs? Then you pick Anthony Bennett first and get 3 points and 2 rebounds a game? You clear salary cap space for the fantasy of bringing LeBron James in like the Pistons did a few years ago? This is good for the fans?
I am for this move but still it is sad that after all the lean years with the Pacers Granger is not going to be a part of this play-off run. He is popular with his teammates and it was interesting to learn that Bird told Vogel only after the trade was completed. This was apparently because Vogel was too close to Granger to be objective. Again that is my impression based on comments Frank made on Pacer Weekly radio program. It is a reminder that his is a tough business first. It is possible that the Bird felt the close-knit locker room was too comfortable and needed a wake-up call.
For the years when you carried the Pacers through the lean years, thanks Danny.