DannyGrangerPacers_Warriors082813

Danny Granger on schedule, but what is his role?

Pacers coach Frank Vogel said in a radio appearance in Indianapolis that Danny Granger is on schedule and should be ready to go and added back to the fold for a Pacers team that nearly upset the Heat and got to the NBA Finals last year:

It’s really exciting. Danny is on schedule, looks really good, he’s making progress each week and we’re hoping that were going to be having a full-strength Danny Granger this year to add to this team that made a lot of noise last year.

How easy it has been to forget about Granger with Paul George emerging as a potential all star player, Roy Hibbert putting on more muscle this summer and expanding his game and David West being a bully in the post in an undersized Eastern Conference. Granger was this team's original star, and the key cog before injuries left him out for almost the entire season last year.

There is still belief, it seems, from the Pacers that he can be added easily back into the fold around the core they have and make the team even better.

There are the doubters, of course. Granger averaged 18.7 points per game during the lockout-shortened 2012 season, leading the Pacers in scoring as the team finished third in the Eastern Conference. He shot 41.6 percent from the floor and has not shot better than 43 percent from the field since 2010.

Granger is still a fine player. He posted an 18.6 PER in 2012 and has stayed around 20 in the years after his breakthrough 2009 All-Star campaign. His usage rate hovers around 25 percent.

But with George breaking through, it is going to be interesting to see exactly how Granger fits back in. He has always been the primary offensive option for the Pacers, particularly from the wing. Sharing that role with George might put too much pressure on Indiana's offense and cause the team to take a step back.

While George's usage rate last year stayed closer to 20 percent, he shot 41.9 percent with the increased offensive responsibility. The shots for Granger have to come from somewhere, and so the team will be shuffling that careful balance yet again.

The end result will likely be the Pacers trading Granger's expiring contract if things do not work out and letting George take over that role like he did during the 2013 Playoffs.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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