In keeping with the subject of the Indiana Pacers’ bench unit, there’s one big way they could improve, Danny Granger can bite the bullet, and become the sixth man. Now this isn’t a far fetched idea other than the fact that Granger wants to start. And why wouldn’t he? He’s played his whole career for the Indiana Pacers, and has been through all those rough years of trying to carry the load himself. But now, it’s a different team. There’s guys here that want to help the team and are ready to make this Pacers team the contender they should be. I would believe that Lance Stephenson would be fine with Granger back in the lineup and Stephenson coming off the bench, but also believe that it doesn’t have to work that way.
Stephenson had proved himself a valuable starter and such an integral part of this team. I believe that Stephenson would be fine as the second unit guy, but I love the energy he brings to the first unit. Frank Vogel has even said as Lance goes, the Pacers go. If Lance can bump up the intensity, everyone else looks to be bumped up in intensity. Granger on the bench would be a great way for him to not rush back.
Obviously, this past season, Granger wasn’t rushing back, but probably did come back not at where he wanted to be. It took him only five games before soreness came back, and he was right back on the injured list. This time around, if he just takes his time, and works hard to get where he wants to be, he could work out with the second unit and become the “starter” of that. I would imagine he could work hard enough to earn some sixth man of the year consideration, if he’s able to play the full season off the bench. Look at someone like Shawn Marion, who took his opportunity as a bench guy and came in to do some good work. Or Manu Ginobli. I would believe Manu starts on quite a few teams, but for the Spurs, there’s no doubt, he’s pretty much that “sixth starter” and he’s a guy that has embraced that role. I think if Granger saw the opportunity for what he could do, he can embrace it. It’s not like he’s getting any younger, and who’s to say where his game will be after this injury.
We already saw how long it took him to get comfortable even off the bench in short spurts. I don’t know even fully recovered if Granger could play those starter minutes. But 15-20 minutes a game, giving out 12-15 points would be so much better than anything the Pacers got off those second unit players. With Granger, he’s a consistent guy, and he’s even someone that could have some outburst of 20+ nights, which would be such a great thing. It takes a little pressure off the starters if Granger accepts this new challenge. I am sure that’s what it would be, but if the Pacers are winning and able to stay in contention, why wouldn’t Granger want to do this for a team that he’s worked so hard for anyways?