The Indiana Pacers made the Eastern Conference finals last season without one of their leaders in Danny Granger. In his absence, Paul George has developed into one of the best players in the league and a top-tier superstar, while Lance Stephenson has progressed from the last guy on the bench to a borderline All-Star. This has forced Granger to come off the bench this season, which is not something he minds at all at this point.
“It’s just a matter of working,” Granger said. “How far am I below that (ceiling)? I don’t know. Because right now it’s a matter of working my way back into where I’ve been without hurting my team…We have a team that went to the Eastern Conference finals last year, so you add me and obviously we get better. Add Scola, we get better, but I’m not going to come back and play the same way that I played three years ago, you know what I’m saying?
“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.”
Before going into this season, Granger had said that he expected to be a starter this year. He suffered a setback and was sidelined for the initial parts of the regular season, and when Stephenson continued playing out of his mind, it became blatantly clear that head coach Frank Vogel will not mess with his terrific starting lineup.
For a player like Granger, this type of a situation can be tough to handle sometimes, but after suffering through some tough injuries, he seems aware of his current limitations and is willing to accept his role.
Granger still has a long way to go to look anything other than a shell of his former self, as he is averaging 8.7 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 37.3% from the field, this season. If he can regain some confidence in his shot, and become a more reliant scorer off the bench, the Pacers could be even scarier than they are right now.