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The Extra Pass: Three things you think about Danny Granger that are wrong

Dec 23, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Houston Rockets  v Indiana Pacers Getty Images

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In his second game back Sunday, Danny Granger looked good.

After battling knee issues that kept him out almost all of last season and most of this one, Granger returned the Pacers lineup this weekend. Sunday against the Celtics he looked like the guy the Pacers are hoping he will be off the bench — 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting, running to the arc and fearless to take the shot.

There are questions about how Granger will work out over time, legitimate ones. But there seem to be a lot of misconceptions, too. Here are three things people just seem to get wrong.

1) “He can’t play with Paul George.” Granger entered Sunday’s game with 4:58 left in the first quarter (replacing Lance Stephenson) and the Pacers promptly went on an 8-0 run with Granger and George on the floor. So far through two games, they are a +1 together (the obligatory small sample size warning goes here).

But here’s where this old myth they can’t play together falls apart: It assumes that Granger is going to want the ball in his hands to run isolations and create for others. Yes, he used to be the focal point of the offense, but he’s not that guy anymore and he knows it — through two games he is working off the ball, finding his spot at the arc (he’s a career 38.3 percent from three) and fitting in well, thank you very much. He’ll be a volume shooter off the bench now and has accepted that role. He’s not going to take the ball out of George’s hands.

2) “He’s a $14 million expiring contract, the Pacers are going to trade him.” You’re thinking like it’s the old CBA. The value of expiring contracts are down (look at the trade deadline last year) and it’s hard to move a big deal like his. It’s not that the Pacers won’t listen to offers, but Larry Bird said he’s not looking to move him. Indiana wants to make a run at a title and Granger as a shooter off the bench helps them do that, it gives Frank Vogel a rock solid 9 man rotation he can lean on in the playoffs. Why not keep him around, make a title run then let the $14 million come straight off the books? That’s always been the most likely scenario.

3) “Granger can’t play defense like Indiana wants.” He’s actually always been a better defender, especially one-on-one, than he has gotten credit for. He’s solid in his help rotations. Granted, coming off a major knee injury he may not move the same way, but playing with the second unit (and with Roy Hibbert or Ian Mahinmi behind him) he doesn’t have to. Just be solid. Granger can do that.

The bottom line is this: Granger is back and the Pacers just got considerably better. Which is scary for the rest of the league.

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Pacers 106, Celtics 79: Indiana’s defense controlled this one, forcing Boston to take midrange jumper after midrange jumper, then contested them. The result was a Celtics team that shot just 38.1 percent for the night. Indiana took control with a 24-5 run in the second quarter and never looked back. It was a laugher. Paul George had 24 points, Lance Stephenson had a triple-double with 12 points 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Raptors 104, Thunder 98: After a rusty first half — a hangover from the Spurs game — the Thunder seemed to figure it all out in the third and after a 14-0 run were up 11. We knew how this was going to end, right? Wrong. The Thunder went back to sloppy play, John Salmons had 9 points in the fourth (14 for the game) and the Raptors closed the game on a 6-0 run to win. Kyle Lowry had 22 points to lead the Raptors. Look at it this way, the Raptors shot 39.6 percent on the night, the Thunder 36.8 percent. It wasn’t pretty.

Clippers 120, Timberwolves 116 (OT): Minnesota keeps losing games like this. However, this one really had to sting. The Timberwolves big men dominated the Clippers front line — Kevin Love had 45 points and 19 rebounds, Nikola Pekovic added 34. Yet Minnesota couldn’t shake the Clippers, who got 32 points and 10 rebounds from Blake Griffin. Still, Minnesota was up two and had the ball with 8 seconds. All they had to do was inbound and hit free throws. They inbounded into the backcourt to their best free throw shooter, Kevin Martin, who slipped a little then got stripped by Chris Paul, who fed Jamal Crawford for a layup and we were headed to OT. In the extra period Chris Paul had 9 points, dominated and you see the final score. Minnesota should feel sick about this one.

  1. 2016olympics - Dec 23, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    Luol Deng for Danny Granger and 2 future 1st rounders…?

    Pacers get Luol to push them over the top…bulls get two late 1st rounders and the teams swap expiring deals.

    Everyone’s a winner?

  2. maracineanu16 - Dec 23, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    As far as I know this is the final year of his contract. So I think that in case the Pacers win it all this year – he will stick with the team, no matter that he is on a “reduced” role right now. Or, in other case he can help another contender. Anyway – the future is still bright for him.

    • spursareold - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      No. He’s not staying. Players don’t leave that kind of money on the table. He’s a former All Star, and if he shows good health, he’ll command and get top dollar.

      • homergreenz - Dec 23, 2013 at 9:40 PM

        Granger is not going to command top dollar.

        He’s 30 years old (post-prime) with major knee questions. Need I go on?

        His career PER is 17.5.

        This is Granger’s 9th NBA season, he’s played 5 complete regular seasons (78+ games), including the lockout shortened 2011-’12.

  3. tcclark - Dec 23, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    George and Granger worked out together before George was drafted. George told Larry Bird he wanted to go to Indiana to play with Granger, and Granger asked Larry Bird to draft George. It’s ridiculous to think they can’t play together.

    • chadley71 - Dec 23, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      they can play together all day long, but to continue to get the wins and be the title contender this year granger needs to continue to come off the bench. I will admit that after watching his first 2 games back, is has been a surprise at seeing him distribute instead of shoot. time will tell if he buys into the new Pacer scheme.

      • tcclark - Dec 23, 2013 at 11:37 AM

        It’s not like Granger hasn’t been here the past two and a half years. He should know the scheme inside and out. It’s not as if Frank Vogel is a new coach or Granger’s a new player for the team. He’s been around the team long enough to know his role.

    • antistratfordian - Dec 23, 2013 at 2:31 PM

      You’re missing the point. Wanting to play together and being able to do so together while not otherwise weakening the offense are two different things.

      The main concern – for me at least – about Granger and George out there together is the ball not going inside enough. So to me it’s not about Granger taking shots away from George, it’s about trading Hibbert/West post touches for Granger jump shots.

      • limonadamas - Dec 23, 2013 at 4:11 PM

        your comments fascinate me. half of them are unabashed trolling. half of them are actually real and pretty insightful a lot of the time. you’re messing with my head, anti. hahaha happy holidays. =P

      • antistratfordian - Dec 24, 2013 at 7:24 PM

        Thanks. I take that as a compliment. I would be concerned if I found that all of my ideas were so easily accessible.

      • tcclark - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:48 PM

        When the biggest issue (for most people) is one taking shots away from the other, wanting to play together is half the battle.

        It’s not like Lance Stephenson doesn’t shoot. There won’t be that many additional outside shots when granger is on the court instead of Stephenson. Of course, that is unless they play the extremely intriguing lineup of Granger at the 4 with Hibbert at the five and stephenson and george at the 2 and 3. That would be interesting to see, but Then you won’t have to worry about taking shots away from West and Hibbert will get a lot of open looks with the floor spacing that will come from that lineup.

      • antistratfordian - Dec 24, 2013 at 7:18 PM

        Well here’s the problem. Stephenson and George have both increased their shots this year. Now here comes Granger who will shoot the ball. Shots are being subtracted from somewhere.

        A warning sign for the Pacers when it comes to facing Miami in a series: Both Hibbert and West have seen their field goal attempts decline this year as George and Stephenson increase their shot totals (and again, here comes Granger). The Pacers are probably going to play that way the entire year, but they’ll have to change everything if they face the Heat in the playoffs.

    • spursareold - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      Actually I don’t think that’s true. The Indiana front office wanted to draft him, but Granger was a bit reluctant to recommend him, not from a talent or attitude standpoint, but because he probably saw himself pushed out. Their mutual agent finally got him on the phone with Bird, and he did give a recommendation, but it was reluctant and NOT really willing. Turns out DG was right. PG will be the end of him in Indy

      • tcclark - Dec 24, 2013 at 9:27 AM

        George and Granger grew really close out in LA. Sure he was probably a little worried about drafting a player the same position as him, but when he made the call to Bird he gave George a glowing recommendation. He held the key to drafting him. Danny could have trashed him and the Pacers wouldn’t have touched him, but He listened to a phone call where George explained that he wanted to go to Indiana so he could learn from Danny and Danny knew he could do that. Against his own self-interest, he was willing to give George a glowing recommendation.

        http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1207668/2/index.htm

  4. norcaldeportes - Dec 23, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Classic Kevin Martin

  5. nbascreed - Dec 23, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Kurt, what is a volume shooter? You use that terms a lot but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it defined.

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      A guy who scores a lot of points but doesn’t do so efficiently. A guy who consistently scores 22 points on 21 shots a night. The best definition of one might be Allen Iverson — you can win with a guy like that but there needs to be very specific things around them.

  6. savvybynature - Dec 23, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    On that replay it didn’t look like Griffin faked Rubio out at all with that fake pass. More effective was him just using his off hand to swat Rubio away before he dunked.

  7. homergreenz - Dec 23, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    Larry Legend lighting a fire under Granger’s ass:

    “He doesn’t work hard enough (in the offseason),” Bird said of Granger, per the Indianapolis Star’s Bob Kravitz. “He’s not a guy who’ll push himself to the brink like a lot of our guys do. He works hard but he doesn’t push himself. That’s why he starts slow every year and he just works his way back. Now this year, he’s been hurt, so it’s a different deal.”

    http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nfl/colts/2013/12/21/bob-kravitz-pacers-should-keep-granger/4157841/

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