The Indiana Pacers sit atop the Central Division despite not having arguably their best player all season, but it looks like Danny Granger is getting closer to returning for the blue and gold, according to Mike Wells, Pacers beat writer for the Indianapolis Star.
This is encouraging news for a team that’s in desperate need of another consistent scorer other than Paul George and David West. Granger has led the Pacers in scoring the last five seasons, including an All-Star appearance and league Most Improved Player award in 2009. He scores buckets in a variety of ways. He can score inside with his length on post-ups, or outside with isolations on the wing; Granger is also capable of doing damage with movement off the ball and spot-up three-point shooting.
The Pacers offense needs an injection of life. Indiana is still 29th in the league in scoring (91.1ppg) and offensive rating (98 points per 100 possessions). They are 28th in field goal percentage (.420) and 25th in three-point percentage (.340).
Granger’s return should help West and Roy Hibbert with their post-up opportunities by discouraging double-teams with another knockdown shooter. The Pacers will also continue to have great length defensively at all positions when he is back in the lineup, which should only strengthen the league’s best defense (95.4 points per 100 possessions).
There have been rumblings that Indiana should trade Granger with the emergence of George at the starting small forward position. That may be a bit premature. It doesn’t make much sense to trade away a player that is a proven scorer and has great chemistry with his teammates when that team has trouble scoring. The Pacers go 3-4 minute stretches in games without scoring field goals. A guy like Granger, who can get buckets, is more valuable for this team than some may believe.
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