Indiana Pacers: 5 Players Who Will Step Up for the Injured Danny Granger
Granger has been great for the Pacers, but has had some injury issues throughout his career. He missed over 30 games from 2008 to 2010, and played hurt in other seasons.
Coming off a loss to the Miami Heat in the 2012 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, the Pacers will have to start the year without their star.
According to ESPN.com, Granger is out indefinitely and awaiting more information on his knee injury.
With Granger out for the foreseeable future, the Pacers have to find someone to step up and fill the void. Who will step up for Bird's Boys? Here are a few Pacers that might take on a bigger role this season.
1. Sam Young
The Pacers are going to have a hard time filling the void of a superstar like Granger with just one player. That's where Sam Young comes in.
The Pacers are Young's fourth stop in the NBA. In Young's first two seasons in the league, he averaged over seven points and two rebounds per game. Injuries have kept Young off the court in the past few seasons, but now he's coming into Indy and a great situation.
Young has the size and skills to help the Pacers replace Danny Granger. He won't have many 30-point outbursts, but he's fully capable of dropping in 10-15 with a few rebounds on any given night.
If Young can come off the bench and contribute a few points and enough rebounds to help free up the big name players on the Pacers, Indy will be looking at quite a few wins without Granger.
He hasn't got things going yet, but the season is young.
Get it? Young?
2. Gerald Green
Like Sam Young, Gerald Green is in his first season with the Pacers. Green is another player on the Pacers' roster that has a chance to explode this season. Granger's absence gives Green a chance to get a lot of minutes and make up for DG33's missing buckets.
Green has gotten better in each game so far this season and is averaging 10 points per contest.
Green's athletic ability and good shot give him a great chance to make a difference for the Pacers.
As Coach Vogel and the Pacers continue to explore how they'll deal with the Granger injury, Gerald Green is one of the players who has the ability to step in and contribute buckets right away.
3. Lance Stephenson
Lance Stephenson is in the same boat as Gerald Green. While Green may have a few years on Stephenson, they have very similar skill sets.
The guard out of Cincinnati is averaging 10 points per game this season. He has had a hot hand in a few games this season, especially against Charlotte when he dropped 15 points.
Stephenson and Green together will be very important for the Indiana Pacers this season as they try to make up for Danny Granger. Both players can get hot shooting and can bring a lot to the table.
Stephenson has got a lot of playing time late in games this season. If his hand stays hot, he may take over as the Pacers' new closer without Granger.
4. Paul George
Paul George is an obvious option to fill Danny Granger's Nikes this season. With Granger out indefinitely, George will be expected to step up as the playmaker on offense.
George has gotten better in his first two seasons and will need to keep improving without Granger.
He has done a great job already this season, contributing at least 12 points in each game. George has also added at least three assists in each game and has snagged over 15 rebounds on two occasions.
Paul George has the youth and the explosiveness that the Pacers need on the court this season. George has stepped up in the first three games, getting it done offensively and defensively, and will keep it up without Granger on the court.
5. David West
While Paul George offers the youth for the Pacers, David West brings the experience.
West is three games into his 10th season and is playing inspired basketball.
West has played outstanding ball so far in this young season. He dropped 25 on the Raptors in the season opener, 14 on Charlotte and scored 18 points and grabbed 18 rebounds against the Kings on Saturday.
Danny Granger will obviously be missed by the Pacers during his injury, and David West will be one of the most important players until he comes back.
These five players certainly have the potential to make up for the missing Granger, but that's asking quite a bit of a single player.
If the Pacers are going to replace their superstar, it'll be a team effort. All five of these players, along with the rest of the roster, will have to up their game and play team basketball to make up for Granger.
The Pacers haven't missed Granger too much in the first three games, starting out 2-1. If they want the wins to keep coming, however, they'll need great performances from everyone.