It’s been a good week for the Pacers. Convincing wins against the top teams in the conference help one sleep at night. They’ve played themselves back into contention for some home court advantage in the playoffs, and have shown the league that they aren’t going to back down against anyone. The cool part is there’s no sign that this upturn in performance will cease. In fact, this team’s prospects are pretty dang bright. Danny Granger, ex-All Star, and perennial leading scorer, is set to return in about a month, if he stays on schedule. But how does one schedule the healing process, you know?
Anywho, given the Pacers success, and the emergence of Paul George, many people around town are wondering what the Pacers should do with Granger. The Pacers are already deep at the small forward/wing position, and are thin on talented big men (Tyler Hansbrough looks like a chicken with his head cut off some nights). Some have suggested trading Granger to bring in help at the point guard position. Whether it’s to bolster the front court or the back court, there are people out there that would be happy to see Granger go. I don’t think it’s a personal thing, but people are just tired of Danny. I, for one, am not a member of the “Move Danny” campaign. I love Danny. The Pacers have a bit of a logjam at the small forward position, but the solution is not to ship out the best of the bunch.
There are a number of reasons why moving Granger is not a practical move. First and foremost—dude’s still hurt. They say he’ll be back in about a month. You know what else is in about a month? The NBA trade deadline. If he’s not dealt before the deadline, he’s not dealt. To think that trading a player fresh off a serious injury is going to bring back anything of value is preposterous. Not even the Kings would give the Pacers a fair deal. Although, I think the Pacers would be helped tremendously with a Jimmer Fredette, but that’s another column for another day. But seriously, we need him.
Even if the Pacers could get something good in return for Granger, they should not deal him. The Pacers have the best defense in the NBA, but one of the poorest offenses. This team cannot score. They’ve held the two best teams in the East to under 80 points, but failed to eclipse 90 themselves. Danny has been the Pacers leading scorer for years, and replacing Lance Stephenson (don’t get me wrong, Lance has been stellar) with someone who can drop 18-20 points a game will definitely boost the Pacers’ offense out of the cellar of the NBA. If he makes the conscious decision to play the type of aggressive defense he displayed against the Heat in the playoffs there won’t be a drop off on team defense, and the offense should be markedly better.
I’m not implying that the Pacers can compete with the Clippers, Thunders, Heat, and Spurs right now. They need to make some sort of roster move to have a chance to break into the upper echelon, but Danny Granger is not the guy that needs to go. It wouldn’t hurt to add another power forward. Or a Mormon sharpshooter. According to ESPN’s Trade Machine, the Pacers could swing a deal that would send Tyler Hansbrough and Jeff Pendergraph to Sactown for Jimmer and Tyler Honeycutt. Someone get me Kevin on the phone!