Danny Granger’s return to action this season was one of the most anticipated superstar comebacks from injury. Of course, Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose led the race individually, but the Indiana Pacers most probably led drew a collective interest. Granger came back this season and played just five games before hurting himself once again. Right now, he is about to return to the lineup within the next few days. But what impact will he have to the team?
Well, on paper, with a superstar and dominant player like him onboard, the Pacers look like they have the puzzle completed. Really, a duo of Paul George and Danny Granger at the two and three positions, in combination with the twin towers, Roy Hibbert and David West in the frontcourt would make the Pacers lethal. Not only that, but now Frank Vogel will have the luxury to use the emerging Lance Stephenson in the second unit. Keep in mind that the Pacers already have a very strong bench, which includes Luis Scola, C.J. Watson and Chris Copeland.
After suffering a strained calf in the pre-season, Granger never really managed to return to his normal this season. During his five appearances, all from the bench, he played just 14.8 minutes per contest, averaging 5.4 points and 1.8 rebounds while shooting an ugly 28.6 percent from the floor and 20.0 percent from three-point range. He was clearly not himself.
But now, Danny Granger states that he feels good and he is ready to return to action.
It wasn’t long time ago when the 30-year old forward was the best player of the team. That, of course, was before George started to perform like a superstar and also before Lance Stephenson started to put up significant numbers. The question now for Granger and the Indiana Pacers is what will his role be? Will he return to dominate the Pacers’ offense and average 20.0 or more points per game?
The truth is that the reality within the Pacers team is drastically different. Indiana has inevitably altered its style of play, due to the rapid improvement of its young players. Frank Vogel will have to cook a clever plan of making things work in sync with Granger back in action. Granger himself will have to adjust to the new reality and find the way to cooperate with another dominant star, Paul George. The certain fact is that this return will be a big change for the entire team, one way or the other.
Whilst there are some scenarios stating Granger will come off the bench, this is simply too difficult to happen. It just doesn’t make sense to put your former best player and scorer in the reserves, when you have the chance to inject him in the starting five. Maybe this will be the case at start, until Granger finds his rhythm and gets used to the Pacers’ new style of play.
In general, there is little doubt that he is the piece of the puzzle that will put Indiana furthermore to the top. If Danny Granger manages to stay healthy, look for the Pacers to become really scary in the East.