Danny Granger was once viewed as a cornerstone player, and an all-star for the Pacers. Any success that they had would be because of him, but things have changed since then. The Pacers challenged the Heat in the 2012 playoffs, as they forced them to six games.
Since then, Paul George has emerged as a top-five player in the league, Lance Stephenson is a borderline all-star, and Granger is battling knee issues. Those issues have kept him out of the last season and a half, and now that he’s healthy, he has been put in unfamiliar territory.
Granger is averaging a career – low 22.5 minutes off the bench, and he is shooting a rough 37 percent from the floor. He is averaging 8.7 points, but you can tell he’s trying to adjust. Granger was rumored to be traded, but now it seems like they are staying put, so Granger is willing to sacrifice to help the Pacers win a title.
“I do see that vision (of how he can help), and it’s exciting,” Granger told USA TODAY Sports. “Honestly, we’re in first place right now (in the East) and we’re such a deep team that the benefits of being that deep team, it comes in the playoffs. It’s not in the regular season. We’re playing for No. 1 seed with Miami, but where I’ll really help the team is in the playoffs, and everybody knows that. It’s exciting to know that I can bring that.”
“Now (the goal) is just to help the team this year to get where to where we need to get, which is an NBA championship, doing my role. That’s coming off the bench, like I am now, and just trying to fit in. This is not the time for me to go and get my game back, to get to where I was. It’s not the time to go pursue that.”
Granger goes on to say that the goal is to win a championship, and he just wants to help the team. The Pacers have a much improved bench with Luis Scola, C.J. Watson, and Granger, so it makes sense for Indiana to hold on to him.
The real question comes after the season, as Granger is a free agent, but there may not be a lot of teams lining up for a 30 year old with bad knees. The Pacers have a real chance to beat the Heat this season, so they are banking on the 30 year old with bad knees to contribute.