Gerald Green Will Average in Double Figures and Emerge As One of the Season's Feel-good Stories
If he were a power forward, the Pacers would be set. Alas, he's a wing player on a team with two entrenched wing starters in Danny Granger and Paul George, meaning it'll be hard for Green to get the crunch-time reps that generate Sixth Man of the Year votes. Harden and Ginobili are going to monopolize the top two spots on that ballot, anyway.
But Green can score, and with Indiana having taken a slight step down at backup point guard, with D.J. Augustin in Darren Collison's spot, the Pacers will need Green to score in bulk on bench units. He'll take some bad shots and get lost on defense here and there, but the good should outweigh the bad.
A word on the Pacers: Fans love to toss Danny Granger's name into trade talks, with a Granger-Millsap swap perhaps the most popular proposed fake trade in the entire league in various two-, three-, and four-team forms. The idea would be to move George to small forward, wipe away Granger's salary ($13 million this season, $14 million next), upgrade the big-man rotation (a huge weak spot last season after Roy Hibbert and David West), and send Granger to a team that needs scoring.
I'm not betting on anything like this happening. Granger is in that sweet spot where his contract is short enough for Indiana to hold it without regret, but also large enough for rebuilding teams to blanch — especially since Granger is 29 and clearly not a no. 1 option on a good team. This kind of deal also puts enormous pressure on George, who has major potential but also spends entire halves as a pretty passive offensive player. He's ready for more, but is he ready to be the no. 1 perimeter option on a team that wants to contend, fill its arena, and avoid regressing even a little bit?
The one caveat: Teams that didn't think they could make any noise this summer may eventually shrug and look at deals that expire after next season — like Granger's — as a sort of pre-expiring contract they'd be willing to take on, provided they don't have to surrender much value. After all, teams starting next season must spend at least 90 percent of the increased cap figure on players, up from 85 percent now. Indiana would obviously want something of value, so any trade like that would require at least three teams.