We saw Danny Granger and Paul George fall to the Miami Heat in the 2012 Eastern Conference semi-finals. Since then, Granger went through months and months of not playing, while George put himself on the verge of stardom. Next season, the two will be back on the court once again. How powerful can these two really be together?
Back in 2012, George was a nobody and played shooting guard alongside team leader Granger at small forward. Now, times have changed and the torch has been passed to George. Back then, George averaged only 12.1 points per game, but he averaged 17.4 points per game this past season. Granger, in 2012, averaged 18.7 points per game, but last season, he was stricken by injury and was only to play in five games. So, obviously things will be different next season.
Next season, George will be the one doing most of the scoring at shooting guard. Granger is coming off an injury and has stated before he doesn’t have it in him to carry a team anymore. That’s okay, because the Indiana Pacers don’t expect that out of him. George will be the main scorer like last season, and Granger will just be used as a support scorer, meaning he will only need to average around 15 points per game. 15 per game from Granger would be nice because if George’s growth continues like it did throughout the last season, he could average over 20 per game; having 35 points between two players on a great defensive team is pretty darn good.
Granger may not be able to score like he used to, but one thing he can hopefully still bring is efficiency. Granger averages about 44 percent shooting over his career, which isn’t the best, but this year it could easily improve. Since Granger isn’t the team’s primary scorer anymore, Granger won’t be jacking up as many shots as he did in the past, meaning he can focus on taking better shots. This will mean George’s shooting percent will probably be in the low- to mid-40s like last season, but it will even out as long as Granger can be efficient.
The duo will be lethal offensively for sure, but they may be a better defensive duo than any other. Both are great at putting a body on someone and swarming the ball. Also, the two are good at disrupting passes and taking it the other way. George averaged 1.8 steals per game last season, and Granger averaged one steal per game in 2012. Having these two defensive geniuses swarming the backcourt every game could be troublesome for Indiana’s opponents.
Indiana will be back in contention next season and with the duo of George and Granger, maybe it can finally knock off the Heat and make their first NBA Finals appearance since 2000.