Well the Indiana Pacers will get a quick look to see what their team can do without star player Danny Granger. Just hearing the news yesterday had to hurt the team morale a bit, but knowing the optimism that coach Frank Vogel preaches, and the depth the Pacers possess, maybe losing Granger will help other players grow. Everyone is ready for Paul George to make that next step in his evolution of becoming a great player, so I would look for him to step up his game tonight.
The Pacers should still take care of business against the Toronto Raptors, who have a young squad, but isn’t very talented. Toronto hasn’t finished with a winning record in years, and isn’t expected to finish that good this season. All a good recipe for the Pacers to come out and win a season opener against some bad teams. They go to Charlotte for a game before coming home on Saturday for the home opener against the Sacramento Kings. Three games to start the season that should be three wins.
I would expect this game to be a win for the Pacers by 7-10 points. Look for the offense to go through Roy Hibbert some as that’s an advantage to the Pacers. He got paid this summer, and now would be the perfect time to show that he is worth the money. I would look for David West to step up in Granger’s absence as well since West is such a veteran leader to this team. It wasn’t that long ago that West was a double double guy, and perhaps he’ll be right around there this season.
George Hill has full control of the starting point guard position, a role he took on in the April of last season, and one that he looked to be a tad better at than Darren Collison. Now he’ll get the full season to play with the starters, and expand his game even more.
But I really want to see what Paul George can do, and that’s something this Pacers team wants to see as well. It’s his third year in the league, which always feels like that time that a guy has a breakout year. This Pacers team can grow around guys like Paul George and Roy Hibbert. Without Granger in the lineup, it’s time to show what they can do for Indiana.