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Losing Granger Not Disastrous for Pacers
Posted By Joel Brigham On March 28, 2013 @ 7:06 pm In NBA | No Comments
The Indiana Pacers announced on Thursday that Danny Granger would undergo left knee surgery that will keep him out for the remainder of the season and the playoffs.
Initially, it would be easy to say that this cripples the Pacers’ chances of getting past the Miami HEAT should the two meet up in the postseason again this year, but that’s not necessarily the case. True, Granger and his career 18.1 ppg potentially could have helped Indiana offensively, especially since that’s an area where they’ve been terribly inconsistent this season, but it’s not as if Granger was producing at that level this season. In the five games he actually played in 2013, Granger scored a total of 27 points, and only managed double-figures once in that span, so it’s not as if Indiana would be getting back the Danny Granger fans have grown used to seeing.
Anyway, the Pacers are tied for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference without him, and they’ve done that without having to run the offense through Granger as they have in years past. He’s always been a guy who kind of swallows up the ball on that end of the floor, and without him the Pacers really struggled to develop an offensive identity at the start of the season. Now that they’ve got one, conventional wisdom suggests it would be potentially even more devastating to figure out how to work Granger back into the mix this late in the season.
Indiana has four players averaging double-digits in scoring this year, which shows how balanced their offensive attack has become, and that has been led by David West (17.3 ppg) and Paul George (17.7 ppg). Even Roy Hibbert, who was a tremendous disappointment offensively for most of the season, has come on of late, averaging 17.1 ppg over his last 9 games. Indy has found a groove scoring the ball, which could mean, odd as it sounds, that losing Granger for the year might be the best thing for their playoff hopes.
Remember, this is the top defensive team in the league in several key categories, so even on nights when things aren’t running on all cylinders offensively, they’re good enough to hold opponents to low totals and still win games. In the playoffs especially, defense is something they’ll need a lot of.
In short, losing a name player like Danny Granger seems like it should be devastating, but the Pacers have been one of the best teams in the league without him. Outside of Miami, there’s no team in the Eastern Conference playoff picture that Indiana couldn’t have beaten with or without Granger, and with or without Granger, they’re still nowhere near as good as the HEAT.
It’s a painful and frustrating thing for Granger to have to do, but it doesn’t really affect the outlook for the Pacers in the postseason. They’re still as good a bet as any team to make the Eastern Conference Finals.
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