That will be the biggest question heading into the next season for the Indiana Pacers. For me, I just keep going back and forth on it, and I know that’s a horrible way to approach it. But if I had to pick a side right now, I go with Lance Stephenson. We don’t know the health of Granger until he actually gets out there and starts playing. But I do think you have to ease him in just like last season, therefore, Stephenson is the starter, and you have that lineup work together to move forward.
You could go the route that Granger should be starting since he’s never lost the job because of his performance. And can you imagine adding even what Granger is now to that starting line up? Every starter would be a scoring option, so teams would be hard pressed on who to really defend. That’s always a good problem to have, but of course Granger would have to fit into that starting lineup. That would be interesting to see how he meshes with that as you would probably put Paul George at the 2 position, and Granger back in his natural 3.
Stephenson goes to the bench, and becomes one of the primary options on offense for them. He’s a guy that can take the ball from one end of the floor to the other. He still needs to work on hitting more jumpers, but hopefully that will be something he works on this summer. I think he would give plenty of energy to that bench unit as he did for the starters, so that would be a plus.
Either direction you go with Granger or Stephenson on the bench, I believe the bench already looks better than last season as you have a real offensive and defensive player. Lance Stephenson did step up at times to defend Lebron James last year in the playoffs, so that tells you that he can play solid defense when need be. I think Granger brings a defensive touch to his game that people don’t always give credit for. Two playoffs ago, he looked to be one of the best guys out there, and he had to defend Lebron James for most of that series two seasons ago.
In a way, it’s a good problem to have, but you hate telling one guy or the other they have to move back to the bench. That’s just the way it will go with this team, and like Coach Vogel has said, he likes that bench players are essentially the next starters. So Stephenson or Granger can have that type of attitude, and go out and show that they could be a starter for the team.