Did Pacers suffer from a post-Granger trade hangover?

By Jeff Caplan, NBA.com


VIDEO: GameTime’s crew breaks down the Pacers’ small forward depth chart

DALLAS — Did the Indiana Pacers suffer from a psychological hangover after trading Danny Granger? It’s not a question that Granger exactly dismissed without some consideration Thursday night.

“It may have,” Granger said after his new team, the Los Angeles Clippers’, rallied to beat the Dallas Mavericks last night. Granger left the game in the fourth quarter with Granger left in the fourth quarter with a strained hamstring.

“You mess up the … it’s not messing, you change the chemistry of the team. It can have different effects that are unforeseen. I think that may have had something to do with it. The fact they added two new players, it’s hard to come in in the middle of the season with a new team regardless of how good you are, that’s very difficult to do.”

Since the Pacers traded 6-foot-9 Granger, a shining light for the franchise through some dark years, beloved by his teammates, the Indy fans and team president Larry Bird all the same, a cold wind had been blowing leading into Wednesday’s critical win over the Miami Heat.

An 11th hour deadline deal on Feb. 20 sent Granger to Philadelphia for Evan Turner, and suddenly a significant piece of the Pacers’ fabric was ripped away. In these weeks since the trade, it’s almost as if the clocks has been striking midnight on a Pacers season with so much invested.

A team that didn’t lose it’s seventh game of the season until Jan. 8, is just 11-7 since dealing the former All-Star. They’ve ranked 26 in offensive efficiency and sixth in defensive efficiency, allowing 100.3 points per 100 possessions, up from 93.9, No. 1 in the league, prior to the trade.

Granger also noted improving teams in the East making life a bit more difficult. Three of those seven losses came against scrappy Charlotte, New York (which was on a seven-game win streak)and the always-difficult Chicago Bulls. Four losses came against teams in the more rugged Western Conference.

“We took advantage of the fact that the East was awful in the first half of the season,” Granger said of the Pacers’ 17-2 start. “We were just blowing through everybody. But those teams got it going. Brooklyn started playing better, New York, Toronto started playing better, so the East is a little more competitive toward the end of the season.

“They’ve been struggling a little bit, but I think they’ll be fine.”

Granger also believes he’ll be fine after leaving Thursday’s game with a strained left hamstring.

“We did tests and it was strong and everything, just had pain in it,” Granger said, which convinced him it was better not to try to return to the game. “I was walking around on it. I feel optimistic about it. It is [frustrating], but it is what it is.”

Granger’s season with Indiana and Los Angeles as been up and down. The Sixers made the deal in order to dump Turner’s contract and had no intention of holding onto Granger. He was waived and after waivers, signed with the Clippers on Feb. 28. He quickly moved his wife and 20-month-old twins, Jaxson and Jade, from Indy to L.A.

His statistics are nearly identical in backup roles with both teams. In 12 games with the Clippers, he’s averaging 8.0 ppg and 2.3 rpg in just 16.2 mpg, about six fewer minutes than he was getting in Indiana. He’s shooting 42.9 percent overall and 35.3 percent from 3-point range. He’s scored just 11 points in his last three games after scoring in double figures in six of the previous eight.

“He’s been up and down, honestly,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “He’s had some really good games and he’s struggled in a couple as well. I just think he’s getting used to playing every night, he’s trying to get used to our defensive system and the way we play. But overall he’s been good. He’s been a great teammate, that’s the first thing you really want, a guy that just wants to fit in and he’s done all those things, so it’s good.”

The Pacers know all about Granger as a good teammate. But he wasn’t brought him to L.A. to do that and fill its needs on the wing. J.J. Redick has been injured much of the season and his return is uncertain as he mends from a bulging disc in his lower back. Jared Dudley lost his starting job, and largely a rotation spot, with the always emotional Matt Barnes handling the starting duties.

Now the Clippers can only wait on Granger, 30, to get back on the floor after this latest injury issue with his hamstring. He doesn’t think it will be long and says he’s confident he can deliver when it counts, in the playoffs.

“I’m always confident,” Granger said. “I still know what I can do and what I can give as long as I have the opportunity to show it. I definitely feel comfortable.”

18 Comments

  1. trinity says:

    trading granger for a draft bust is one of the dumbest moves on a trade deadine i have ever seen.

  2. Dimitri says:

    I’m sorry but for all the respect I have for Larry Bird, this was one of the dumbest GM moves i’ve ever seen. Why “Shake things up” when you have the best record in the first place? Likewise, most teams looking to go into the playoffs trade for Veterans who have playoff experience and can be trusted in the half court, yeah that doesn’t describe turner at all, and perfectly describes Granger, in fact thats the reason the clippers picked him up…Chemistry is important, the way guys play together is important, leadership from your former leader is important.

    The other thing is, what did the trade say to the team. That even if you are/were the best player/heart of the team for a while you are not only expendable, but in the middle of the season we are going to dump you onto the worst team in the league. What if Danny hadn’t gotten a buy out? It was the ultimate sign that management doesn’t respect the players. If I was a player on the pacers I’d be thinking damn, Danny saved this franchise and made it watchable, and they did him like that, I wonder what they’ll do to me. Not exactly loyalty instilling.

  3. Basketball Fan says:

    No, maybe Granger voodoo’ed them. haha, or maybe granger is their good luck charm even though he doesn’t play much.

  4. theholyspectator says:

    pacers lose that number 1 seed, its officially a rap for them

  5. Jacques Durceille says:

    Paul George is not a franchise player. He can’t carry a team. He is an ok player but he is not a game changer. You can’t count on him with your season on the line. There are only few players like that in the league at any moment. 1 of them was Kobe, the and the other is Lebron. We will see if Durant will get there one day, but George is not a franchise player. You can’t put everything on his back and tell him “go” and get much out of it. Only the few can make this claim, Jordan, Magic, Shaq, Lebron, Kobe, even Allen Iverson. Like I said, only a few are in the league at a given time and it certainly is not Paul George.

  6. Kaneman says:

    They shouldn’t have let him go, period.

  7. okc2014 says:

    Come playoffs, the Pacers will have regrouped and will be just find. They don’t need Grainger, Bynum or even Evans to beat the Heat.

    • allaroundballer says:

      Pacers made a great start and then Bird pushed panic button or what? Bynum n Turner? Also I think Granger wouldn’t mind to be the sixth man in Indy – at least for this season. It’s just Bird’s move which is for no big reason. Because their main problem is low performance by Hibbert and Hill

    • Angelo says:

      Even though the have lost each playoffs series Against the Heat

  8. JUSTINE says:

    I think Granger should not be trade, He was a offensive player and yet he is a star in Pacer. The return of Granger in Pacer after injury is a big additional to the team, however we should respect also the trade make. It just and we feel after the trade, Pacer has been lost of the game several times after good start of the season. Hope that Pacer could come over it and make it to the finals…….. and be the CHAMP…. Go Pacer

  9. rdeano7 says:

    A bit reductive to say that Granger leaving is the cause of their problems, as he was only a bit-part player this year anyway. They just lack any elite offensive talent. George has potential and is a beast on d, but still has a long way to go.

  10. kimmycho233 says:

    yeah the poor play started for Indiana before Danny was traded specifically the game that Danny and the rest of the bench blew a 17 point lead in Orlando leading to a loss.

  11. dustydreamnz says:

    Granger leaving is about the only thiing I can think of as to why Indiana have been so poor. It’s not just the losing, it’s losing to poor teams and being well beaten by good teams. They did beat Miami though which is a good psychological blow.

    • Witness says:

      Right. no sorry they barely squeaked by on 1 point with alot of questionable terrible calls and also really bad shooting by the Heat which normally wont happen. Fluke win. sorry. The Heat outworked em that game bar none. Indy didnt deserve any of that win.

  12. Truth says:

    Actually I think things started going downhill for the pacers after Hibbert said that they wanted to face the Heat in the playoffs and then move onto the western conference.

  13. Danny Granger “…quickly moved his wife and 20-month-old twins, Jaxson and Jade, from Indy to L.A.”

    It’s cold in Indy compared to Los Angeles!

    Welcome to the west coast Danny. You were an absolute, 100%, total whatever and however else you can be described with the Pacers. You will be missed in the Pacers lineup especially from this long time, ABA following fan of the boys from Indy. Hopefully both teams will meet in the NBA Championship.