The Indiana Pacers shut down forward Danny Granger for the rest of the preseason with a calf strain, but it seems he may miss more time.
“Vogel said Granger’s calf strain is worse than they thought and it’s unlikely that he plays opening night. Stephenson will start.” – @ScottAgness
Granger was noticeably starting to get back in a groove and was showing that he deserved to be the starter on the team over Lance Stephenson, but his setback may change things. Head coach Frank Vogel made some comments on Granger’s injury, and it sounds like he did win the starting job over Stephenson. “(Granger) was on track to maybe have a role with the starting unit where he’s still finding his timing, and Lance is running the bench.”
Either way, the Pacers win with whoever’s starting, but you have to think Vogel is more comfortable with giving Granger starting minutes over Stephenson. Stephenson made a huge leap in his development last season and a lot of people, including me, thought he would improve upon his weaknesses like any other star player would. However, Stephenson has shown in the preseason that he is pretty much the same player, aside from a better shooting form. He is still pushing the ball up the court way too fast, putting him in bad situations with the ball, and then making bad decisions beyond that point with the ball. Putting pressure on the defense pushing the ball that quickly is a good thing, but Stephenson finds himself outnumbered, looking to pass it to someone, and then making a bad pass that results in a turnover. These mistakes are the reason Stephenson was placed on the bench, but it seems he might have to wait at least one more game to take control of the bench, which was going to be handed over to him.
Having Stephenson on the floor isn’t a disadvantage in any regards, as Indiana did go to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals with him out there last season, but it seems Vogel is more comfortable with him on the bench and Granger in the starting lineup. Hopefully Granger doesn’t push himself too hard and can return soon.