This matchup might not sound that appealing, but this is a great one here. We have an upgrade at the backup center position by possibly adding Jeff Withey, who has the potential to be a defensive anchor, going against trading away Danny Granger to move up in the draft. Who will win this intriguing second round matchup and move on to the quarterfinals?
Below is the usual prospect breakdown from Chad Ford (ESPN.com) and video breakdowns from SB Nation partner, Draft Express. If you want to get familiar with Withey, look and watch all the information provided.
|Projection||Late First Round Pick|
Now we get to a topic that people are either totally for it, or totally against it. That is trading Danny Granger this off-season. In this scenario, Indiana is trading Granger to get into the lottery of the draft. Looking at it, this is not a bad idea.
The birth of a star in Paul George and a faster development then anybody ever thought from Lance Stephenson make Granger a likely sixth man next season. If Danny refuses to play off the bench next season, then trading him is the only option. Getting a younger scorer off the bench, like Shabazz Muhammad or C.J. McCollum makes a ton more sense then keeping Granger's hefty salary of $14,021,788.
Indiana has their young core set with George, Stephenson, Hill, and Hibbert. Getting back David West in the off-season rounds out their starting lineup. Granger does not fit into the starting lineup of this team anymore. For his health, coming off the bench would keep him more effective.
Pushing Granger out the door could seem harsh, but shedding salary next season will be crucial to keeping this current core together. George will be up for likely a max-contract extension and if Stephenson continues to develop next season, he will also be in line for an extension.
Money-wise, it does not make sense to keep Danny around long-term. Also, I imagine teams will be more hesitant to deal away a 2014 pick due to it being the most top-heavy draft since 2003. Getting an immediate asset at a cheaper contract makes sense.
Danny is the captain of this team, but the sad truth is that he does not fit into the starting lineup anymore. It is like fitting a square peg into a round hole. If for some reason he refuses to play off the bench, the Pacers will have to move them. I am in the camp where you continue to keep this starting lineup together next season. It has gotten them one game away from an NBA Finals berth.
If Granger is fine with being the Pacers sixth man next season, then you keep him on the roster. I believe this draft class can give you legitimate scoring power off the bench. If they could move into the lottery portion of the draft and get a scoring punch from Muhammad, McCollum, or somebody else it makes sense to move Granger in that sense.
This topic is controversial for Pacers fans. Either you are 100% with keeping Granger, or 100% with trading him away. I would love to see Danny stay around and play in a reduced role off the bench next season, but trading him for a younger piece to me would be something I bite on if I am in the Pacers front office.
After the analysis on Withey from ESPN's Chad Ford and Draft Express, also my little rant on the possibility of trading Granger, who should move on to the quarterfinals? Will it be Jeff Withey or Trade Up (Trade Danny Granger) receiving your vote?