For those of you who happened to miss the big news that came out of the NBA Thursday, in an 11th hour deal, the Pacers swapped Danny Granger and a 2nd round pick for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. As a side product of the deal, the Pacers were also forced to release Orlando Johnson due to roster limits. The local and national media have spent a great deal of time discussing this deal, so I want to consolidate those thoughts and add a little commentary of my own.
Right now, in the last week of February, Turner is and Improvement over Granger
This is not a sleight of Danny Granger. He was a consummate pro and will forever be remembered as the anchor of several below average Pacers teams, but Granger has not looked like himself the last 2 years. Looking at his shooting chart, Granger was only shooting at an above average clip in 2 zones on the court, the corners beyond the 3 point line. Turner is not dangerous beyond the arc, but is shooting average or above pretty much anywhere within it. Turner was averaging more points, minutes and attempts per game than Granger, but for a Pacers 2nd unit that struggles to score most nights, adding a shot creator can't hurt. Granger is more of a spot up shooter than a shot creator, so this could help the 2nd unit. The big fear with adding Turner is that he is used to putting up a lot of shots per game and while he can create shots, he tends to do it for himself, so that is a concern. Turner is a bit of a ball handler, so he adds another ball handler to the team that struggles with that from time to time.
Pacers have the option of going small
Moreso than when the Pacers have Granger, the Pacers can really play a small lineup against certain teams in the playoffs. While the Pacers have made a name for themselves as a big team. The option of Hill, Stephenson, Turner, George, and Hibbert/West is now a viable option in a late game situation like we saw in game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals last spring. Lance, PG, and Turner all are adept at slashing so the court might not be big enough for all 3 to be as effective as they can be, but the option is there.
The Lance Stephenson Factor
Turner and Stephenson are related in a couple of ways. First off, this takes pressure off of Vogel to play Lance as much with the 2nd unit. Lance and Turner have a similar style of play, so Lance can log a few fewer minutes per game and can use those minutes with the first team a bit more with the addition of Turner. This deal also creates, possibly, more time for Copeland coming off the bench. The 2nd unit doesn't have a true shooter, if you don't count Watson, so if Lance is getting less time with the 2nd unit, Cope might get a few minutes here and there to be a shooter to take advantage of Turners slashing.
The second way they are related is that they are both Free Agents at season's end. Lance is projected to get around 9 million a year which the Pacers could likely afford. The problem is, if Lance gets an offer of say 15 million from some team that is more free spending than the Pacers, the Pacers may not be able to match. There is always the possibility that Lance give the Pacers a potential hometown discount, but there is a figure that the Pacers just can't match, and if Lance wants more than that the Pacers have to replace him. Turner, while being a free agent, can be locked in by the Pacers for just a little over $8 million per year. If the Pacers can't get Lance back, Turner is a good insurance possibility.
Granger was a beloved teammate and mentor for the Pacers. Losing him really was disappointing to a lot of the current Pacers players. Turner should come in and lock in because he went from a 15 win team to a 40 win team and though he goes from being a starter to a reserve, going to a winner can do a lot for a guys attitude and focus. Will this move mess with team chemistry? Only time will tell. I will say this, Granger came by to Bankers Life on Friday to say goodbye and give hugs to everybody. He will be missed by players and fans alike.
Granger to the Heat?
To the surprise of... well... No one... Granger was not happy about the trade to Philly. Early reports are saying that Granger would like the Sixers to buyout his contract, which they are apparently considering. If he gets bought out he wants to go to a contender and 3 teams keep coming up: Spurs, Thunder, and Heat. That means, more likely than not the Pacers would be facing their former teammate and friend in the playoffs. Which other than being hard for long time fans, is a potentially dangerous proposition. If Granger gets hot and burns the Pacers in the playoffs... well that would be disappointing.
We want to know what you think of the trade, so feel free to comment or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter and let us know what you are thinking.
Thanks for reading,
-T.O. signing out.