This appears on nba.com
by rick olivares
When I heard of the Indiana Pacers trading away long-time star Danny Granger to the Philadelphia 76ers for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen, the first thing or person that came to mind was Adrian Dantley.
You recall Adrian Dantley, a shooting guard/small forward who most famously played for the Detroit Pistons before he was unloaded in a mid-season trade with the Dallas Mavericks for Mark Aguirre. The Pistons were massive contenders for the 1988-89 NBA championship and they won it while sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers, 4-0.
The difference there was Dantley was producing but wanted more touches. It was a battle of wills with Isiah Thomas who was the Pistons’ leader. Thomas won out and Dantley was traded for Aguirre who was a boyhood friend of the Pistons’ captain. This one was more of a chemistry issue.
The point I am trying to make though is missing out on a chance to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
This season is one of the finest the Pacers have had since 1999-2000 when they went to the NBA Finals only to lose to the Lakers, 4-2. They have a talented team with Paul George, Roy Hibbert, Lance Stephenson, David West, George Hill, C.J. Watson, and Luis Scola. But that’s roundabout a powerful starting five albeit it needs a bench with a little more depth and consistent firepower.
Granger has been a shell of himself after an injury-plagued 2012-13 season. And in that time, the team transitioned to Paul George as its leader and top dog. Granger was supposed to be the super sub like Manu Ginobili is to the San Antonio Spurs or how Jeremy Lamb has performed for the Oklahoma City Thunder this season.
In my opinion, Indiana management was looking for more consistent double-digit scoring off the bench; a fireman if you will, and Granger hasn’t produced the numbers.
Granger’s production in 29 games this season is 8.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.4 blocks, and 0.3 steals per game. His production as opposed to his career numbers of 17.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.9 blocks, and 1.0 steals per game has suffered since he also receives fewer minutes (32.5 down to 22.5) and touches.
Danny has clearly not adjusted to coming off the bench and receiving fewer minutes and touches.
For George, his point production has gone up in the last four years from 7.8 in his rookie year of 2010-11 to 12.1 to 17.4 to the current 22.5 points per game this campaign.
I gotta feel bad for Danny here who in the post-Al Harrington-Stephen Jackson teams slowly and quietly became the team’s leader and their face. He scored with silky smooth jumpers and drives to the basket. He was their first player since Reggie Miller that the team drafted to become their star. Danny raised his scoring average by an average of five points per year for three consecutive seasons become the first in the NBA to do so. He may have lit up NBA scoreboards but in a small market like Indiana, Granger who became an All-Star and the league’s Most Improved Player in 2009, still wasn’t a household name.
It seemed that all was going swell for Danny as he joined the US national team that won the gold during the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey.
Then came the disastrous 2012-13 season wherein he only played five games due to patellar tendinitis that is also known as “Jumper’s Knee” (a common cause for pain among athletes in basketball and volleyball).
Although Granger came back this season, perhaps in the eyes of management, he isn’t the player he once was and will likely not be the player they need to get over the hump that is Miami. I know that the team wants him to play better defense. With Paul George being acknowledged as a two-way player, maybe team management
Am not sure how Evan Turner will handle being in that same role that was pigeon-holed for Granger but if he can put points on the board and hit big shots like he did in Philly then this trade just might help Indiana.
Hopefully, in a team like Philadelphia that is rebuilding (they also jettisoned center Spencer Hawes), he can get his career back on track. And maybe unlike Adrian Dantley, find his way into a championship contender.