Take a sprig of Granger, a dash of Vince, pour in a little Rudy, and on top of it all just sprinkle on some superstar aspirations. If you followed the recipe correctly, it should come out looking like Paul George – maybe with an extra toe or ear, but it should be close enough.
How do you develop a budding star to make sure that his soufflé doesn’t collapse upon removal? In the case of Paul George, you increase his usage rate. Most fortunately, HC Frank Vogel has pinpointed that exact issue early on in the offseason and has stated his intent of incorporating him into the offense at a higher frequency, which should enable the 3rd year player to have the leeway to shoot more than 10 times a game and fill his lungs with a fresh 35 minutes of court time. The Jersey accent throws me off a bit but Frank Vogel, you are a smart guy for setting this guy up for success sooner than later. I guess the alternative would be heads rolling in the front office and staff if it didn’t happen this year, though.
I’m going to go a step further and say trading Danny Granger would maximize the potential of Paul George and work as a boon to the Indiana Pacers.
Danny Granger is a terrific player – his PER is almost always rated top 5-20 in the Eastern Conference year by year, and although his shooting efficiency and percentage have steadily gone down from 2008-2009, he’s not somebody that you would like to leave open. The problem is that he plays in a position that is partly redundant with Paul George who is a hybrid guard/small forward. He’s also 6 years older than the younger Paul George, and his prime years are numbered. He currently takes 16 field goal attempts a game, which is somewhere I’d like to see Paul George shooting this season. Take a look at both players second years in the league:
(Paul George 2011-2012, 2nd year: 12.1 PPG // 5.6 RPG // 2.4 APG // 1.6 SPG // 0.6 BPG in 29.5 minutes)
(Danny Granger 2006-2007, 2nd year: 13.9 PPG // 4.6 RPG // 1.4 APG // 0.8 SPG // 0.7 BPG in 34.0 minutes)
I expect what you’d want in return for Danny Granger would be a premier PG or PF, two of the positions that the Indiana Pacers could stand to have upgraded even though they are still an adequate-but-not-Miami-Heat sort of team with George Hill and David West manning those positions.
The big catch in this whole equation right now is that George seems to struggle defensively when guarding forwards where his length is mitigated. A leap of faith would have to be taken before even considering such a move of trading Granger, and that faith would lie squarely on the shoulders of Paul George succeeding as a forward. If the defensive improvement never finds light, maybe playing George solely on offense as a SF could be an option to consider as well.
The development of Paul George will no doubt be one of the top things that you should be following during this upcoming NBA season (especially if you’re a fan of the Orlando Magic like I am). Paul George has the penchant of driving it to the rim and an array of dunks in his repertoire courtesy of his freakish athleticism, coupled with outside shooting that is nothing to shake a stick at – a big reason why fans and journalists alike are predicting a star-studded future for the kid from Fresno State. It’s time for him to be the focal point of the team and give LeBron James a well deserved scare at the SF position.