With the loss of team captain Danny Granger, the Indiana Pacers were faced with several problems on and off the court. Not only did the Pacers find out that they would be starting the regular season without their leading scorer from last year, but they would also lose a big personality, and a loud voice in the locker room.
Once the news spread of Granger’s absence, the questions arose, as to who would be the player to step up and lead this year’s version of the Indiana Pacers. David West, Indiana’s starting power forward, may very well be the perfect person to take the reigns of this young team.
The Pacers struggled off and on throughout their first game of the season, taking leads and losing leads, against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. Indiana often looked sloppy during the game, doing good things on one side of the floor, then totally falling apart on the other side. Blocked shots were followed up by missed rebounds, and good passes ended up in turnovers. In all, the Pacers had 18 total turnovers in the 90-88 win.
The hard-fought victory was indeed a team effort, but one player showed up from start to finish, helping Indiana to silence 19,800 Toronto Raptors fans on Halloween night. David West, who has been a pro since 2003, is by far the most experienced player on Indiana’s roster. In Toronto on Wednesday night, West took the lead, and stole the show.
West was nearly unstoppable against the Raptors, leading all scorers, with 25 points in 27 minutes of play. Not only did West help lead his team to victory, he consistently took the ball close to the rim, often pressing contested shots against several defenders. West played strong and confident, assisting Indiana to pull a win out of an 11-point deficit late in the game.
The loss of Danny Granger has already been evident for this young Pacers team. If the other players can follow the lead of David West, then the Pacers will be able to hold steady until their captain returns.