The Indiana Pacers will be without Danny Granger for the foreseeable future due to a knee injury. Fellow Pacer Paul George will become a star during this time, as he takes over the feature perimeter player role in the offense.
According to Mark Monteith of NBA.com, the Pacers announced that Granger will be out indefinitely with soreness in his left knee. A second opinion will be received soon, and no updates will be given until then.
This would seem to be a major blow to the Pacers, who proved themselves to be a formidable foe in the Eastern Conference playoffs last season against the Miami Heat. Instead, it will be George’s chance to blossom into the star that his potential dictates he can be.
He has always been a talented player, and now he has a chance to prove just how good he is. Granger was given big money to play his role, but he has failed in the big moments. George will provide the Pacers with an alternative in Granger’s absence.
The Skill Set
When one looks at Granger and George comparatively, the biggest thing that stands out is how alike the two players are. Both are the same height and have similar builds. In fact, even their weights are nearly the same.
They also each shoot almost identical percentages from the field and three-point range. The only difference between the two is that Granger is featured more than George.
The similarities he shares with Granger will allow George to step into his role immediately and flourish. The team around him will also be able to make a smoother transition, as both George and Granger fit into the offense in similar ways.
George already averages more rebounds and assists than Granger, and those differences will increase even more dramatically while Granger is out.
During the 2011-12 season, Granger shot the ball about 15 times per game on average, while George shot the ball around nine times. With Granger out, his extra shots will go to George as the most talented perimeter player on the team.
These extra shots will boost his scoring and shooting percentages as he is able to get into a better rhythm. Not having to share the ball so much will benefit him and make him into the offensive player the Pacers need.
Granger has proven that he cannot be counted on to score critical buckets when the team really needs him to. His absence will allow George to become that player and prove it.
The truth is that someone has to take over with Granger out. He has the role right now of being the No. 1 guy, especially on the offensive end. There really is not anyone else on the team who can fill that role other than George.
George Hill is a good point guard, but he is not the scorer that is needed for this role. David West can score, but he has never been this type of team-carrying scorer. The same goes for Gerald Green, who lacks the talent that George has.
Paul George is the only player who can take over Granger’s role effectively. He has the size, skills and athleticism to do what Granger does and do it at an even higher level.
That is why he will become a star in Granger's absence. The extra shots will boost his scoring opportunities. His similar skills will help make it a smooth transition for the team.
Granger’s injury is George’s chance to shine, and shine he will.