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Indiana Pacers: Why Danny Granger Should Be in Starting Lineup Immediately

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 20: Danny Granger #33 of the Indiana Pacers celebrates hitting a shot against the Miami Heat in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 20, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Kyle GrandFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2013

Danny Granger is finally back for the Indiana Pacers. After a knee injury sidelined him for the first half of the season, he saw his first action last Saturday against the Detroit Pistons.

For the time being, the Pacers have decided that Granger will come off the bench, playing 15-20 minutes per game. He is still getting his feet wet, but he should be in the starting lineup, and here's why.


Getting Comfortable

Starting Granger will get him back into the routine he is accustomed to. He has been a starter for nearly his entire career. Why put him in a position where he isn't experienced or comfortable?

He needs to focus on getting readjusted to the speed of the NBA and restoring his scoring touch. By bringing him in off the bench, his minutes are limited. This cuts down on the time he has to rediscover his former ability.

Granger's shot has not looked good. He is 2-of-17 shooting through two games. He needs much more court time to get his rhythm back. The Pacers need Granger to find his shot, but in his current role, he isn't finding the right shot.

Granger knows his playing time is going to be short. So far, he has forced his shot in order to get into the flow of the game. This means poor shot selection, which leads to missed shots. With increased playing time, Granger won't feel as much pressure to shoot. His offense can come back to him more naturally. 

 

Adjust to Offensive Changes

Paul George is now the face of the Pacers. Averaging 17.6 points per game and playing lockdown defense, the All-Star has become Indiana's go-to guy. That role used to belong to Granger. He was an All-Star in 2009 and has been the team's leading scorer for the past five seasons.

With the emergence of George, Granger's role in the offense is going to change. Instead of taking the bulk of the shots, he will now be a complementary scorer. The Pacers will want him to average 12-15 points per game. This adjustment will take time getting used to.

There are going to be growing pains when a new player enters the rotation. Getting Granger in the starting lineup now will help the Pacers get through this transition faster. The other four starters are going to need time to get reacquainted with Granger and vice versa. Why not start that process now? 

The sooner everyone gets on the same page, the better. The Miami Heat show no signs of slowing down. The Pacers need to be at full strength in order to challenge Miami, not still figuring how to get Granger to coexist with George and the starters.

 

 Confidence

Granger hasn't looked like himself. The Pacers need to take a proactive approach. Making him a starter tells Granger that the coaching staff has faith in him. He doesn't have to worry about losing his spot permanently to Lance Stephenson just because he is off to a slow start.

Granger is a proven scorer (career average of 18.2 points per game). While Indiana does have the league's best defense, the offense has been lackluster (ranked 24th, scoring an average of 94.0 points per game). His presence can transform Indiana from contender to champion.

To be the Granger of old, he has to believe in himself. This belief will come once he sees that his team trusts him like they used to. 

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