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Larry Bird says Pacers problems included Danny Granger

Apr 21, 2010, 4:49 PM EDT

NBA_granger_250.jpgDanny Granger was about the only thing that made watching Indiana Pacer basketball this season tolerable. At least it was that way for me — watch enough hoops and some team always just grates on you by the end of the season. This year it was the Pacers (although the last few weeks were better). On a team that wanted to run but had no ball handlers, he was the one consistent bright spot.

But when team president/legend Larry Bird started to analyze what went wrong for the Pacers this season, he the Associated Press that Granger does not get a free pass.

“I think sometimes, he rushes into things,” Bird said. “He regressed a little bit.”

“I thought his defense was great when he had a challenge, and I thought it was poor when he thought he could overmatch his guy,” Bird said. “A lot of nights, he was very good on the defensive end. I’d just like him to be a little more consistent.”

Bird remains on Granger’s case for his lack of rebounding–he believes the 6-foot-8 swingman should average 8 or 9 per game instead of the 5.5 he posted this season.

Bird acknowledges that Granger is the best thing the Pacers have going right now, he is the face of he franchise. And he’s a good, hardworking player entering his prime.

But Bird is right, Granger did take a little step back this season.

Granger shot more threes than ever in his career, but his shooting percentage dropped from 40 two seasons ago to 36 this past season. His shooting numbers across the board took a hit, whether you are talking eFG, or True Shooting Percentage, or anything else. Most of his stats — assists, turnovers, trips to the free throw line — all remained about the same. It was the three point shooting that did his numbers in.

There’s no reason to think he can’t turn that back around next season, especially if he can stay healthy. The question is, who will be around him to help turn the Pacers around?

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