Posts Tagged ‘Indianapolis’

granger

Danny Granger made his first appearance of the year in the Pacers’ third meeting against the Pistons this season.  After shooting 1 of 10 from the field against their sub-par defense, as we expected,  he still has quite some time to fully get back into the swing of things. But I can say that I was pleased with some of the shots he took.  With time he will get back to playing like the Danny we’re all accustomed to seeing.

In his home debut against the Warriors the only thing that I was thinking about was the future of the team. After Paul George came down and knocked down a three right in the face of a defender and the production team cut to a view of the crowd all I saw was over joyous Pacer fans in #24 jersey’s.

The Warriors called a timeout and the look of confidence on Paul George’s face added fuel to the already ecstatic crowd. The more I look at Granger’s body language it’s clear that he knows his time in Indy is coming to an end and he’s not too happy about it. Once he gets more acclimated with the team things will be fine for the remainder of the year but i don’t see a scenario where he gets resigned. Maybe he’ll take less money but at this point who knows.

Many people are speculating when Granger will be put back into the starting unit. If it was up to me I would have a serious conversation with Danny and ask him about being a sixth man. The starting unit has built up a lot of chemistry together and so far it’s won them a lot of games. Offensively they struggle but the main issue is their bench production. I don’t think putting Lance Stephenson back on the bench to lead the second unit is the answer to your problems.

Paul George is blossoming into a star and splitting shots with Granger could slow down that development process. If Granger is coming off the bench with the second unit he will have more than half of the scoring duties with that scorer-less unit. Coming off the bench could be beneficial in many different areas for the Pacers. But that’s just my opinion on that. Coach Vogel has made it clear that at some point Granger will be back as a starter, just depends on the timing.

To throw a visual out there look at the lineup with Danny as a starter and you judge if having him come off the bench would be a bad thing.

Starters:

PG: George Hill SG: Paul George SF: Danny Granger PF: David West C: Roy Hibbert

2nd Unit:

PG: DJ Augustine SG: Lance Stephenson (With occasional minutes from Orlando Johnson) SF: Gerald Green/Sam Young??? PF: Tyler Hansbrough C: Ian Mahinmi

Or would you rather have Danny come in and score at will with that second unit that has deficiencies at the small forward position and a need for more bench scoring. If you look at championship teams in the past a lot of them had excellent bench production. The best example of that is the 2011 Dallas Mavericks. Even without Caron Butler in the starting lineup they still had enough bench production to defeat the Miami Heat in a tough series.

Sure you could leave Granger or Paul George in with the bench but having Granger with the second unit will allow both of them to have equal time to rest. Plus with Granger coming off a knee injury no one knows if he can defend elite players as well as he could before.

It’s clear that coach Vogel doesn’t have a lot of faith in Gerald Green seeing that he lost his minutes to Orlando Johnson and didn’t play for a stretch of nine games. Sam young is a tough defender who Vogel has no problem throwing on the opposing teams’ best player but offensively he’s a liability.

DJ Augustine has definently had his scoring woes all season and has yet to really prove that signing him was a good idea. There’s no one on that second unit that just pops out as a guy who can get the job done as the starters rest.

When it all comes down to it there’s no doubt in my mind that the Pacers will be fine. No matter where he is on the depth chart he’ll do more good than bad. I just see a sixth man role as being more beneficial to the team.

Having one of your best players come off the bench has worked for teams in years past like the San Antonio Spurs with Manu Ginobili and the Los Angeles Lakers back when Lamar Odom was playing at a high level.  It’s worked more recently with the Oklahoma City Thunder in last years championship run when they had James Harden. I can see this working for the Pacers if they were to do this.

If the Pacers’ front office knows that they have no intention on resigning Granger to a contract extension they should do what’s best for the team now.  If they had success with a Granger-less roster for 55 games  i see no problem with him coming in off the bench and giving a huge boost to that second unit. It may hurt his pride and take a shot to his ego but if he loves his teammates and the city of Indianapolis he should be willing to do whatever the organization thinks is best.

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In the Past few weeks I have been all for trading Granger, before that i was against it. Right now I’m back to being against it, kind of. If I go back and forth with my thoughts in this article it’s because this move could change everything. It could create a domino effect that I’m not sure we’ll be able to benefit from right away.

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As you all know, Paul George is becoming the new face of the franchise. He’s doing everything on the court that you could ask for. He’s scoring, rebounding, and has really found patience on the offensive end. Defensively he’s great too. But even with his scoring numbers up it’s still not enough to move the Pacers out of the 29th rank in scoring. Yeah… they’re close to dead last in points per game. Their record is truly a testament to how great their defense is rather than their offensive production.

With Danny coming back by the All-Star break it can only help them. When you’re the 29th ranked team in scoring there’s only room for improvement. Trading away a scorer and leader like Danny could be a bad thing. Also, lets not forget that he’s a good defender as well. There’s not many players on the market that can really fill his shoes and make an impact like he can. There’s talent out there but right now the Pacers need more than hopes.

If you trade Danny there’s no guarantee that whoever they get for him will stay in Indy. If a player does want to stay most likely they will want to get paid and the Pacers front office doesn’t just pay people for potential.

George Hill and Roy Hibbert got paid because they earned it. Hibbert may not be showing that this season but the fact of the matter is he show’s constant improvement and had the best season of his career. We saw how he can be a game changer.

The Pacers still have to resign David West at this moment no one knows what will happen with that. Next season they could lose Granger possibly and West. What will they have after that? Losing those two veteran leaders is a lot. But resigning both of them could be hard to do when you take salary cap space into consideration. Especially with this luxury tax coming into play for next season it will be hard for a lot of teams to keep certain players.

Bob Kravitz from the Indianapolis Star wrote a great piece on the Pacers being good but still having something missing. He feels that in order for them to really contend they will have to make some moves before this season’s trade deadline.

I agree with him when he says that they need a dynamic scorer off the bench, but at what cost?Would the Pacers even get enough back to have a great scorer off the bench? If they make a move it will either be hit or miss. I don’t see too many players with great upside going to Indy.

Just as Kravitz said in his article, move Tyler Hansbrough, and make Gerald Green available. I don’t agree with him when he says trade Lance Stephenson, but we can agree to disagree on that.

The one thing that we are both saying is keep Granger at all cost. Paul George is blossoming into a star but their leader is without a doubt still Danny. George has stepped up and took leadership as most players should do when the top dog is out, but the true leader of that squad is Danny. They’re close to contention and getting rid of Danny now would be a huge mistake

The Houston Rockets have been in all the trade rumors when it comes to acquiring Granger. Unless Houston is willing to let James Harden and Chandler Parsons go there’s no one on that roster that is worth trading for.

But we all know Harden isn’t going anywhere for a long time. I mentioned other players in my article, “Potential Moves For The Indiana Pacers“, but realistically there’s not a lot of available players that can replace Danny and all of his intangibles.

If i were Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers General Manager, I would do everything in my power to keep Danny a Pacer and resign David West. I would hate trade Tyler Hansbrough because of the hustle and energy that he provides off the bench but they need to win now. Leave the starting lineup together and move players off of the bench. Trading Danny is not the answer.

A lot of people had their doubts about the Super Bowl being here in Indy. They said our city would be too small and that the weather would be terrible. I was on twitter looking at tweets from non Hoosiers and a lot of the tweets were just blasting Indiana. People who have never been to Indiana have this perception that it’s nothing but hicks and farms. Well in my opinion we proved those people wrong.

Indianapolis did a great job of hosting the Super Bowl. The size of downtown Indy was the key to this success. Everything in the downtown area is within a short walking distance. Unlike last year’s Super Bowl in Dallas you didn’t have to travel far to get to your destinations. Dallas is a prime example that bigger doesn’t always equal better. On top of the size of Dallas the weather was a huge issue as well. People absolutely hated traveling those long distances during the heavy snow storm. Even if the weather was bad here in Indy it would not have been that big of a problem. People could get where they needed to go with little to no problem.

While watching the news and ESPN this week it was obvious that everyone had the same thoughts on the city. They loved the Hoosier hospitality, and they loved how all the events and attractions were centrally located. Sure you can have this game in more luxurious of cities but at the end of the day there are certain needs that you have to address to pull off a huge event such as the Super Bowl, Indy addressed them all. I can only count on one hand how many complaints I heard all week-long and those were mostly about the parking. With any huge event there’s always going to be over-priced parking and trouble finding it.

Another good thing about last week is the influx of celebrities and athletes that came to Indy. With them coming here it helped a ton of clubs and local businesses. Even though it cost a pretty penny to book these big names a lot of these venues probably still made more in a night then they would in a week. Celebs are already spending a ton of money then you have to take into account how many people they attracted to these different venues.

Now to the game, there was no doubt that this game was going to be compelling. From start to finish it had me on my toes and alert. The whole time I was watching I couldn’t help but to think about the bad things that could possibly happen downtown if the Patriots won here. After the late touchdown by Ahmad Bradshaw I knew that it was too much time to give Tom Brady.

The Giants caught a break three times in their final two drives. First Wes Welker couldn’t hang onto a slightly high thrown ball from Brady on a crucial third down. I thought for sure he would’ve caught that and turned up field for at least a 10 yard gain. If he catches that pass then that gives them enough room to run the clock out. Then on the next drive Dion Branch drops a tipped ball that would have gained them at least 30 to 40 yards. With the game on the line the Patriots came within about a Gronkowski ankle short of an amazing victory.

If Gronk had been healthy I believe he would’ve caught that tipped hail-mary pass. He was a few inches short of being right there. Giant’s fans should be thanking Bernard Pollard (Baltimore Ravens) for his hit on Gronk in the AFC championship game. If he caught that ball it would’ve been a heart breaker. If he came in a tucked that ball away for the touchdown it would’ve gone down as one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history

This week made a lot of Hoosiers proud to be Hoosiers. I think it’s safe to say that Indianapolis can pull off hosting huge events. Recently we’ve shown that with the Final Four two years ago, and races like the Indy 500. We’re the 12th largest city in the United States. I think it’s time that we get some recognition for our great city. Overall this past week was greater beyond many people’s expectations.

When you’re a sports  fan you usually can’t help but to be bias sometimes. I can’t stress it enough how happy I was that the Patriots lost here in Indianapolis. Being a Colt’s fan it would’ve been hard to watch New England players prance around the field celebrating a Super Bowl Victory. Having New England fans running downtown with high spirits would’ve been terrible. I’m so glad that the G-Men didn’t choke in the big game.

Going into Sunday’s game it was funny to me how people had the Giants ass the underdog’s. Have no clue at all how that’s possible. Sure New England had a better record but it was obvious who the better team going into that game was. The Giants are balanced on both sides of the ball. They’re not one-sided  like the Pats. Even with Gronk being hurt I still kept hearing people go with the Patriots as the victors. A healthy Gronk would’ve helped but if you really paid attention to that game the Pats had plenty of chances to take complete control of the game without him.

There were many doubts about Eli Manning and his ability before this season. A lot of people were not ready to give him a seat at the elite QB table, but after this season i think you have to pull one out for him. He has the clutch gene that every QB needs and he also doesn’t get rattled. He’s proven that he is elite with his two Super Bowl titles and two MVP awards. He comes through when you need him the most.

I’m pretty sure M.I.A. wasn’t the only one who wanted to flip the bird to the world. The G-Men have been criticized all season about their mental toughness  and the continuity of their locker room. Talks about players being traded or cut, and coaches on the hot seat would make a lesser team crumble. The Giants used all the things said about them as fuel. This fuel motivated that whole roster and look where they’re at now… They’re back home in New York with the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy. Their lack of mental toughness that people criticized them about is what got them through this long journey. They proved the world wrong and showed that they could overcome.

 

Bulls vs. Pacers

People are making to big of a deal about the Bulls lack of playing in this series. When you play a team in the same division as you of course you’re going to know how to play them. People are saying “Oh the Bulls are not the team to beat in the east” (which they’re not) and saying “If they let the Pacers out play them for two games they can’t handle anyone else”. Look, the fact of the matter is when you play a team X amount of times during the year you’re going to know tendencies of that team, how to beat them defensively, overall you just know exactly what your going to get. Do i believe Indy will get at most one game on them? Yes. But just don’t make a big deal out of this series. Indy may not be a top team in the league this year but one thing is for sure, the Pacers are flat out tough on the court. They hustle just as hard as the top teams in the league they only have a lack of talent at certain positions and that is what is holding this team back.

Spurs vs. Gizzlies

This is a very odd match up between a 1 and 8 seed. The Grizzlies said they wanted the Spurs because they felt like that was the best match-up for them. which is reasonable after almost sweeping them during the season. I feel like this series could go either way. Memphis has beaten top teams constantly all year. They’ve beat OKC, LA, Orlando, NY, Chicago, and Dallas twice this season. Then they’ve beaten the Spurs the 3-4 times that they met this season so it’s pretty easy to see why they would rather play San Antonio instead of LA (But who wouldn’t). Everything seems to be going in the Grizzlies favor in this series. Ginobili gets hurt right before the playoffs and that’s great for Memphis. Then also the fact that they’ve had their number all year should be a huge confidence booster for them. Will Memphis win the championship this year? No, we all know they will not do that but they can cause a great upset in basketball and give us all something to talk about.

Celtics Vs. Knicks

This is one of the most controversial series this year. So far there has been bad calls left and right and plenty of bone head mistakes by the Knicks and Celtics both. First off the fact NY stayed in this second game kind of adds to the fact that Melo is a one of a kind player. When he gets hot it’s impossible to stop a player like that from doing what he wants. Melo was going off and had Paul Pierce guarding him. Pierce is one of the best defensive small forwards in the league. Melo put that Knicks team on his back until the last few minutes of that game when Doc Rivers finally decides to throw two defenders his way.

On the Celtics part they’re obviously not the same team they’ve been. On defense theyre pretty weak down low. There’s no force down there that would make you second think about pounding the ball inside. Then Pierce has been struggling offensively also. Any time Rondo has to drop 30 points you know somebody in that big three is struggling. Game two Rondo had 30 points and ONLY 7 assist. that’s not Rondo like or Boston Celtic like. I know that Pierce will turn it around for the rest of the series. I have this series going to Boston in 6 games.

Lakers Vs. Hornets

To make this short LA will win this series in 5 games. NO got the first game on them but Chris Paul could not be stopped. Also their bigs frustrated Pau Gasol. With the hornets back up center (Arron Gray) hurt i don’t think we’ll see the same kind of effort on the boards or defensively. Also CP3 isn’t going to put up 33 points 14 ast and 7 rebounds every game. He’ll slow down some. LA will most likely dominate for the rest of this series.

Other Predictions

  1. Hawks and Orlando : Could go either way but most likely Orlando
  2. Denver vs. OKC: OKC in 7 games
  3. Miami Vs. Philly: Miami get’s the sweep
  4. Dallas vs. Portland: Maybe Dallas in 5 games/ Dallas in 7 games