It was a bombshell. The former face of the team is no longer on it.
In Pacer nation, the reaction to Indiana trading Danny Granger has ranged from reminiscing about a fan favorite to looking forward to having, in Evan Turner, a more-potent scorer off the bench.
To help capture some of these sentiments, I asked some of 8p9s’ finest to share their thoughts.
1. What was your first reaction when you heard that Danny Granger had been traded?
Dave Searle: Surprisingly, kinda emotional. I had mentally prepared myself for the possibility that Granger would be traded, and I imagined that I wouldn’t care. For example, Jermaine O’Neal’s trade didn’t even tug a single heartstring. But here we are, and I feel actual sadness. From a basketball perspective? Pure excitement. Turner isn’t a game changer, but he is an upgrade over Granger. A great team just got a little bit better.
Mark Evans: “Isn’t it after 3:00? Come on, I just started being productive at work!” Also, before seeing who they got, I had a funny feeling that this had to have something to do with a future Lance replacement.
Avi Friedman: When I wrote the article a few weeks ago on why it didn’t make sense to trade Danny Granger, the trade that I said was closest to plausible was Evan Turner for Granger and a draft pick. So pretty much my reaction was, “I can tell the future.” On a serious note, I was extremely surprised when I heard about it. I feel bad for Granger after all he’s done for the team, but at the end of the day the NBA is a business and this is a move that helps the Pacers.
Ben Gibson: Sad for Danny, happy for the Pacers. I think it is a smart basketball decision but personally I’m gonna miss Danny.
Tim Sartori: I didn’t have my phone or laptop on when the news broke, so I didn’t find out until 10 minutes later when I saw I had a few emails from other 8p9s guys — all with the subject line “Evan Turner.” My immediate thought was that Granger must’ve been dealt, and that was confirmed a few moments after.
2. How will replacing Granger with Evan Turner change the Pacers offense?
Searle: Evan Turner can’t really shoot. The acceptable 3-point touch he developed for the first time last year is gone in 2014. I bet he occasionally shoots from the corners, but not much else. However, his bread and butter are drives. Turner is 18th in the league in points per game via drives (4.9), shooting 48.2% on such attempts. By comparison, James Harden scores 5.6 per game on drives at a rate of 49.7%. The Pacers will have Lance and Turner taking turns attacking the rim, which seems better than yesterday for this Pacers’ second unit. It will be interesting to see how Frank Vogel addresses potential spacing problems when Bynum posts up down low.
Evans: Turner is probably the guy to carry the bench unit offensively, for better or worse. The 76ers are terrible, but while he was there, Turner showed that he can lead an offensive group for short stretches. That being said, he cramps the offense a little. Granger is more of a threat from three, even though he has struggled. It’s hard to see how he can fit offensively with the starters, as he’s not a good enough 3-point shooter to space the floor for Hibbert/West down low and for PG/Lance penetration.
Friedman: For one, I think it should improve the bench’s scoring significantly. The Pacers were in dire need of a guy that can come off the bench at any time and put points on the board. Evan Turner is in the midst of his best season yet, averaging just under 18 points per 36 minutes, while shooting at a 42.8% clip from the field compared to Danny’s 13.3 on 35.9% shooting. Also, I think this means there’s a possibility of Lance playing less time with the bench unit since Turner is a guy that needs the ball in his hands to make things happen.
Gibson: Granger has the edge on Turner in shooting from beyond the arc, but the stats say Turner is a better shooter overall. As long as Turner can acclimate himself to coming off the bench instead of starting, like he did for the 76ers, then everything should be fine. Evan is better finishing at the rim and if more efficient as shooter.
Sartori: It’ll likely restrict Lance’s minutes a bit, since he won’t have to stay in and carry a lot of the bench load while the other starters have a break. Turner isn’t a good 3-point shooter like Granger, so he won’t be able to space the floor like Danny could, but he’s a great slasher. I’ll be interested to see if Vogel ever goes small. with a lineup including Hill, Turner, Lance and PG, but Turner’s inability to space the floor might make this hard, since Lance and Paul work best when they have plenty of room to drive.
3. For a team that reportedly has such great chemistry, does it concern you that Larry Bird has now added three new players (Turner, Andrew Bynum and Lavoy Allen) to the mix so late in the year?
Searle: No. Mostly because Larry Bird knows way more about the ecosystem of an NBA locker room than I ever will. In Larry We Trust. The message from the front office is a good one though: If you can’t step up and get the job done, you will get replaced. I would assume that this move creates an all-business atmosphere for this young Pacers squad, and that might be good medicine in the wake of All-Star births, dunk contests, and Sir Lance-A-Lot.
Evans: I think Lavoy Allen isn’t a problem, and I don’t think they need Bynum badly enough where he can become a problem. As a guy with a lot of emotion and a reputation for having a temper, I worry about Turner. He’s in a winning environment, so maybe he’ll be fine, but the idea of Lance and ET butting heads seems way too real.
Friedman: Larry Bird, Frank Vogel and David West: three reasons why I don’t worry about the chemistry aspect of this deal. Might it take some time until each individual finds his place in the Pacers’ system? Sure, but I don’t think anyone’s going to be causing locker room problems with those dudes around.
Gibson: In Larry We Trust. My assumption is the starters are dictating the locker room culture, so it doesn’t concern me. Also, considering how much time Granger has missed the last two years, I wonder what his impact was on chemistry.
Sartori: Not really. I haven’t heard a word said against Bynum since the Pacers acquired him, and I trust David West and Paul George — who have shown to be great leaders — can keep everything in check.
4. Does this trade increase Indiana’s chances of winning a title this year?
Searle: It does. Danny Granger’s 2014 playoff renaissance was more wishful thinking than probability. Evan Turner is a known quantity who can only help a bench unit that is already playing opponents to a draw this season.
Evans: 100% yes. At this point, Turner is flat out better than Granger, and Allen is a servicable big if they ever need him. As two-time champions, the Miami Heat aren’t scared, but I’m sure LeBron and D-Wade don’t like the idea of PG and ET guarding them in a long series.
Friedman: Yes. At the beginning of the year the bench looked 100 times better than the Pacers’ bench from last season, but lately I haven’t been able to tell the difference other than a Scola here or a Watson there. Danny Granger looked really old this past month and he had absolutely no arc in his shot. Evan Turner is a pretty big upgrade.
Gibson: Yes. I wish Granger would have been healthier and back to something close to his old form but none of his numbers were even close. He’s not shooting as well and was turning the ball over more than he ever had. Other than 3-point shooting Turner is an upgrade over Granger in almost every way. If Turner can handle fewer minutes and coming off then bench you have to expect him to be an upgrade.
Sartori: I’d say so. At this point, Turner is a better player than Granger and will be better suited to playing with the bench unit. Turner is a proven NBA starter (averaging 17/6/4 through 54 starts this season) and has the ability to light it up against most other non-starting guards.
5. Does this trade make it more likely or less likely that Indiana will re-sign Lance Stephenson this offseason?
Searle: Neither. The odds are still the same, as this doesn’t change the salary-cap picture for next year. Turner is potentially a better Plan B for the Pacers if Lance gets offered a dump-truck full of cash from a desperate team, but this doesn’t change the Pacer’s ability or desire to lock Lance up this summer. Stephenson is clearly the third best Pacer, and Larry Bird will trade anyone not named Paul or Hibbert to keep Lance around.
Evans: Has to be less. Turner is an upgrade, but don’t lose sight of the fact that this has Lance insurance policy written all over it. ET probably doesn’t overly inflate his value in a bench role, but someone is going to go nuts for Lance Stephenson this offseason. The writing is on the wall.
Friedman: I don’t think it really changes their chances of signing him since all the players involved in the trade are on an expiring contract. But what I think it means is that the Pacers believe they won’t have enough cap space to re-sign Lance and want to get the most out of him this year, which is why they brought in Turner to improve the bench.
Gibson: I’m not Larry Bird, but I’d assume the plan is to try to keep Lance Stephenson. However, if he wants more money than Indiana is willing to offer then they will try to sign Turner. I think this provides insurance.
Sartori: I don’t think it really makes a difference. Both of these guys are expirings, so it doesn’t have an effect on the amount of money they have to re-sign Lance. Somebody is going to offer Lance a lot of money this offseason, and it will be hard for the Pacers to do the same, but that hasn’t been affected by this trade.
Tags: Five Questions