Alright, that may seem a tad harsh, but with third-year player Paul George playing at an all-star level (17.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists), you could easily forget that Danny Granger is still a major part of this team.
Although, the Indiana Pacers appear to be holding their own quite well without him. The Pacers sit third in the Eastern Conference and 2.0 games behind the Miami Heat for first place with a record of 26-16.
Granger has been sidelined all year with soreness in his left knee, but it appears that he may be close to returning to the courts. If so, coming off the bench to start and playing less minutes will be what awaits him.
“I don’t imagine he’s going to be able to play 38 minutes right away,” Indiana head coach Frank Vogel said. “If there’s a time frame where he’s limited minutes-wise, we’ll consider bringing him off the bench short term, but if we do so it’ll only be short term.” (Indianapolis Star)
According to a report by ESPN.com, even if Granger were healthy enough to return, the Pacers front-office may still consider moving him before the February 21st trade deadline.
If they can get him back into the swing of things quickly — and get his trade value up — expect them to try to flip him fast now that Paul George has replaced Granger as the alpha dog of the team.
In 62 games last season for Indiana, Granger averaged 18.7 points on just 41% shooting from the field. In fact, since 2008-09 (arguably his best year), his numbers have fallen across the board on a year-to-year basis.
With his recent decline in production as well as his injury concerns, would anyone even want him?
Since he’s been out of action the entire season, perhaps the assets the Pacers would potentially get in return won’t intrigue them enough to pull the trigger. Is there any team out there willing to give up a major piece or draft pick to take a chance on Granger?
I seriously doubt it.
The truth of the matter is that this Indiana Pacers team now belongs to Paul George. With Granger away from the court, George has stepped in and left his mark. Danny remains the captain, but George is now the alpha-male in town (as CBS Sports so eloquently put it).
The wise move may be to slowly integrate Granger back into the rotation and see if he can adapt to what the Pacers are doing offensively. The worst thing that could happen would be his return harming team chemistry in any way.
That may be a crazy notion, especially considering how important Danny has been to the Pacers these past few years. No one can deny though that there is now a changing of a guard with this team, and that change comes in the form of the emergence of one Paul George.
I don’t see Granger being moved before the deadline. His knee issues are a major red flag at the moment. He would need to prove he can still play at an all-star level after his injury before the Pacers could get any true value in return.
With the team playing as well as they are, they can take that chance.