The season debut of Danny Granger has to wait another day. As it goes each day, it does make me wonder what’s keeping him from playing. Maybe there’s a setback to the injury. Maybe the Pacers are just keeping him out till they truly feel that he can go out and produce. But I know that the only way to know that is for him to go out and play. It’s one thing to go out and have full contact practice. But the speed of the game and the intensity is so much more. You have to just give it a go, and hope that you can make it through.
I do know that this Pacers team has truly worked hard to make it as a team, and that’s an encouraging sign. If teams focus on Paul George, it might help Granger get back into form for some open shots. He’ll need to come produce some to fully help this team compete in the playoffs. I think they can continue to work through the regular season with Granger somewhat healthy and producing. But the playoffs are where they can use his intensity. Look at the Heat series last season, who was it that stepped up the most? It was Danny Granger. Now with a more confident Paul George, perhaps he won’t shy away like he did last year. But if you have Granger, David West, and Paul George all playing at a high level, this team with compete and have a lengthy playoff run.
That’s what it all comes down to. Sure winning the division will be great. Getting out of the first round is what this team expects to do. But getting to the Conference Finals is what I want out of this year’s team. If they can’t make it there, this season might not feel as good. Getting there and doing something would be a cherry on top of this season. So far, things have been good. Paul George had one of the best Pacer performances in an All-Star game. There have been three or four triple doubles by a Pacers player, which never seems to happen. David West has been as good as advertised for this team. When you see that look on him where he just wants to get out and score, you know the Pacers are in for a great night. This defense has been impressive. They lead the league in three key categories in defense, which hasn’t happened since the early 1990′s. The offense is finally coming along as this month, they’ve had six games over 100 points. Getting all these pieces to click has been a great challenge, but coach Frank Vogel got it together.
This Pacers team is ready for the playoff push. They’ll need to bring their A game each night to pad their division lead that has been put together. They’ll need that defensive intensity to continue their defensive presence. Paul George needs to continue to emerge as a budding superstar. Danny Granger needs to get fully ready to go and help this team get to their destination. This journey is really going to pick up soon, and fans should be along for the ride.