Who Should Be The Starting Shooting Guard For The Indiana Pacers?
Looking back at the season the Indiana Pacers had in 2012-2013 one would be impressed. The team started off the season well, standing good odds for a solid course for the regular season and also a participation in the Playoffs. Then, the disappointing news about the season-ending injury of their starting forward Danny Granger put the team’s chances for a breakaway on hold. The Pacers had to alter their starting lineup, placing Lance Stevenson at the shooting guard position, to replace the injured Granger. Now, as the team enters the 2013-2014 season and with the star forward back and healthy, the Pacers will need to decide if Granger will take over again and be assigned with a starting role.
It’s true that Indiana responded exceptionally well to the absence of Danny Granger. Working as a unit, almost every player in the lineup tried to improve his performance in order to fill the void that the up-to-then most productive player of the team left behind. Granger had been exceptional almost every season for Indiana, with the best one being the 2008-2009. He then averaged 25.8 points per game and also 40.4 percent shooting from long range. That’s what earned him a spot at the NBA All-Star game. Although his production decreased over the course of the next seasons, he still was valuable for the Pacers. During the last season he was healthy, in 2011-2012, he score 18.7 points per contest on average, with his shooting percentages also slightly down from the previous seasons.
That’s why, now, as the 30-year old forward will return to action, there are still some questions about whether he needs to be assigned with the starting role or not. Indiana has also the emerging Lance Stephenson on its arsenal, who was very solid last season. Stephenson is just 22 years old and during the 2012-2013 campaign he averaged 8.8 points per game on a 46 percent shooting from the field. Now, these numbers don’t tell the full story and that’s why Stephenson is also a superb defender. He can efficiently contend opposing guards, disturbing their shots and he is very aggressive and energetic when on the floor. On top of that, it was the absence of Granger that allowed players like Paul George and Roy Hibbert to showcase their abilities and their value. George emerged as an All-Star and Hibbert drastically improved his game. The Indiana Pacers proved that they can be competitive even without Granger in the rotation, so would his non-presence in the lineup be an issue?
Well, the most obvious answer to the question about who the starting shooting guard of the Pacers team should be is Danny Granger. It just makes sense for a team to throw its best weapons on the court, right from the beginning. However, we shouldn’t be surprised if we see Head Coach Frank Vogel experimenting during the season, especially during the first weeks and start with Danny Granger on the bench. After all, this might work out well for the team.