Many people were unsure how the Indiana Pacers fare as they played the majority of the 2012-2013 NBA season without the former leader of their team, Danny Granger. With Granger out, though, Paul George took the reins as the clear leader of this team, helping lead Indiana to the Eastern Conference Finals.
With Granger set to return after fully rehabbing his knee this summer, though, it’s kind of unexpected what the forward will offer and what his role will be. He could slide right back into the starting role, but he could also come off of the bench in relief of either George or Lance Stephenson.
In his last full season with the Pacers, the lockout-shortened 2011-2012 campaign, he was a big performer for them despite being limited by the knee problems. In 62 games he averaged 18.7 points, five rebounds and one steal in 33.3 minutes per game. He shot 41.6 percent from the field, below his career averaged of 43.7 percent, but did shoot a solid 38.1 percent from three-point range.
Ultimately, it seems like bringing Granger off of the bench is the best option for the Pacers for a couple of reasons. First of all, it will allow Granger to ease back into the flow of the NBA game and get his legs back under him so that he can be a key contributor for them.
More than that, Granger doesn’t seem to be a long-term piece with the Pacers anymore. He’s been mentioned in many trade rumors over the past year with the emergence of George and with many people high on Stephenson’s upside. Granger coming off of the bench would allow him to prove his value, but also allow the Pacers to develop guys they believe are part of their future. Granger could still be a solid piece for them, but it seems best for him to come off the bench this year.