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Once again Paul George, Danny Granger say they can play well together

Sep 23, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Indiana Pacers' George shoots over Miami Heat's Allen during their NBA Eastern Conference final basketball playoff in Miami Reuters

Soon we will move past the tedious summer “talk a good game” phase of the NBA season and into the “actually prove it on the court” phase. That will be a welcome moment, because all we have now are people answering questions we have about teams with their words.

For example, can Paul George and Danny Granger really co-exist with the Pacers?

Granger was out with an injured knee last season and George stepped up into the leadership vacuum (earning himself a max  contract extension in the process). That means this season eventually (it will not happen Day 1) they will be able to play well together — and the Pacers become much more dangerous — or they will not meld and the Pacers will have to try and move Granger to recapture their swagger from last playoffs.

George, Granger and even team president Larry Bird spewed the company line “of course they can” in an interview with the Indy Star.

“I think it’s a great combo,” Bird said. “Paul not only can play the (shooting guard) or (small forward) positions, he can guard anybody. I think that takes a big load off of Danny….”

“The only thing we have in common is a similar build at 6-8 and 6-9,” said Granger, who likely will become a free agent next summer. “He’s more of a facilitator. I’ve always been more of a scorer, shooter. He’s a slasher. He can shoot it. He has more of an all-around game.”

Responded George: “You can’t help off Danny. Otherwise, it’s a (3-pointer). In that aspect, it helps me out. He opens the floor for me. It should be the same way for Danny. I should give him some space to operate.”

Should. That’s the operative word.

How will that actually work out? As again around the last week of October and we will see how it unfolds — but realize it will unfold. There is no answer two games into the season. It will take 20 to start to get a clear picture, and it all could evolve more after that. Indiana seems in no rush nor should they be, they have time to see how this shakes out.

Either way the Pacers are a deeper, better team than they were last season — most of their core players (George, Roy Hibbert, George Hill) are of an age where they should improve every season and even if Granger doesn’t work out they can trade him for parts they do need. The Pacers are well situated no matter if Bird, George and Granger are right or not.

  1. kingwithringz - Sep 23, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    Better prove it. If Granger starts, PG has to move back to the two-guard, and he didn’t thrive at that position. He thrived at small forward though.

    • spursareold - Sep 23, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      The two wing positions aren’t that different. PG thrived when given the ball. His position SG/SF is almost irrelevant.

    • bougin89 - Sep 23, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      PG played a lot of point forward. He brought the ball up himself quite often, especially during stretches in the playoffs. Plus shooting guards/small forwards can be very similiar. It’s more or less matching up with the other team when your on defense that defines what players play what positions. George and Granger should be fine in the lineup together.

    • wowwowbad - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:51 AM

      The best position fit both of these players is at the small forward. I’m not saying that they cannot co-exist, I just think that Lance should spell Paul better than Danny. Plus Danny’s health issue, he would be better coming off the bench as the primary firepower playing alongside guys like new addition Scola, Watson, and Copeland. The Pacers are just one man short for a complete line-up, which is the ball-handler. I supposed George Hill will play this role most of the time and Watson spells him. However, they are not considered elite ball-handlers, not starting PG quality. They need a better floor general, and in that regard it will help a lot especially when facing teams have many ball-thieves like the Heat.

  2. metalhead65 - Sep 23, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    I am sure they can play together but granger needs to start the season on the bench. less minutes means less stress on his knees plus it provides time to see if he still can play and a potent option off the bench.

    • spursareold - Sep 23, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      If you want a REAL problem on the Pacers next year, send Granger to the bench. He’s coming off an injury and trying to earn a big contract, not so easy to do as a reserve.

      I’m guessing that the Pacers are mainly trying to showcase him, and may be ready to deal at the deadline for younger players and picks. I don’t think he’s in their long term plans, so it’s probably best to get something for him.

      • tcclark - Sep 23, 2013 at 4:27 PM

        not when you’re trying to win a championship. You don’t trade an all-star caliber player for picks and young players when you have a chance to win a championship. You ride it out and hope for the best.

      • metalhead65 - Sep 23, 2013 at 4:35 PM

        I think they will/should start him off bringing him off the bench to see if he still has it and he will end up playing starter min. if he does. depending on where they are at when the trade deadline comes I would not be upset if they got good young assets in return or a young veteran with a cap friendly contract in return for him.

  3. hungryhungryhibbert - Sep 23, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Built not bought! Pacers are building a monster as well as the colts. I would love a double dynasty!

    • antistratfordian - Sep 23, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      Call me when the Pacers win 50 games.

  4. antistratfordian - Sep 23, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Granger: “He’s more of a facilitator. I’ve always been more of a scorer, shooter.”
    George: “…it helps me out. He opens the floor for me.”

    Heh. They’re both saying the other guy is going to help them score. I don’t think Granger realizes that Paul George has already said, “I want to be that go-to guy… I want the ball.”

    Good luck… with that.

    • bougin89 - Sep 23, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      Their is room for both of them to succeed. Will they? We’ll have to see. But if they are both healthy I don’t see why they wouldn’t be able to play together. Neither of these guys are going to be asked to score 30 points a game with Hibbert and West in the lineup as well.

      • antistratfordian - Sep 23, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        Well I see a few issues developing for their offense that are not going to be so easily ironed out.

        1) Granger is going to want his shots, because that’s his player identity. Yes, he is willing to sacrifice shots, but only up to a point. And he doesn’t pass (he averages 2.0 assists a game on his career). Granger is going to want to average at least 20-21 points per 36 minutes.
        2) George, his fans and the Pacer front office wants him to ascend to elite status which absolutely requires that he scores more. The more George scores the more praise he receives. He got the most attention last year by keeping pace with LeBron in scoring when they went head-to-head. Scoring increase = status increase. He is aware of this. And now the Pacers are going to max him out… that’s an incentive to launch and perhaps taken as a green light.

        The first two points become a problem because of:

        3) The Pacers offense works best with West and Hibbert as the #1 and #2 scoring options.

  5. p31squared - Sep 23, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    This Pacers team is going to be fun to watch and I don’t even think Granger or George will be the leading scorer. Hibbert is becoming a beast, getting even bigger and stronger this offseason. He could be the most dominant big man in the league next year. With that threesome, Hill, West, Stephens and the strong bench…scary.

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