The Pacers are set to enter the 2012/13 season with their strongest lineup in the post-Malice at the Palace era, but some around basketball still question how far the team can get with Danny Granger as their star player. However, General Manager Kevin Pritchard told Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld that he believes the team can accomplish much more with the forward in the fold.
“Danny was put into a position a few years ago where he needed to score a lot and now we don’t need his scoring as much, we need his overall game and he’s a heck of an overall player…He’s shown to be very unselfish, he’s given up a lot of his offense to be a better defensive player last year," the GM said. We got the fifth-best record in the league last year, you don’t just say, 'We don’t need him.' That’s a bunch of baloney. I don’t believe that.”
Granger, 29, has two years remaining on a five-year, $60MM contract extension inked on Halloween of 2008. The deal was backloaded with 10% escalation in each season, putting Indiana on the hook for $13.06MM this season and $14.02MM in 2013/14.
Granger has seen his PPG average steadily dip across the last four seasons, from 25.7 in 2008/09 to 20.2 last season. However, as Pritchard eluded to, the current makeup of the club demands less shooting out of the forward. In 2011/12, Granger averaged 16.4 shot attempts per game versus a career high of 19 in 2008/09.