So I guess Jalen wasn't too impressed with Danny.
Originally Posted by Bill Simmons and Zach LoweINDIANA PACERS: 67.5
Zach: Seems appropriate we've lumped Memphis and Indiana right next to each other, right?
Bill: Why, because it's Adam Silver's worst-case scenario for his first Finals?
Zach: Competitive balance, baby! These are two defense-first teams with slow, unglamorous offenses that will be pretty stinky for large portions of the season. But the Pacers have one guy who looks like a potential ballhandling, wing-scoring superstar in Paul George, so they're a more conventionally appealing team to watch. And George is already an elite defender, if you enjoy such things.
Bill: I'm thoroughly intrigued and can't wait to see if PG24 makes a second leap. Were the Pacers a fluke contender along the lines of, say, the 2007 Jazz, 2009 Nuggets or 2004 T-Wolves — a team that took advantage of injuries/upsets/timing and outkicked their coverage for one season? Or did they build something a little more lasting? I want to find out.
Zach: And we'd never before seen Roy Hibbert play 35 to 40 minutes of inspired two-way ball over an extended stretch. He needs to do that full-time in the playoffs for these guys to come out of the East. That'll be fun to monitor. Plus, Luis Scola, and Luis Scola's flopping hair, make any team more watchable — especially when he's taking Tyler Hansbrough's old minutes. It's hard to top a bench watchability upgrade like the one from Hansbrough to Scola, and that doesn't even factor in how much better the Pacers might be with a real bench.
Bill: We know Chicago and Brooklyn will be MUCH better, and we know the Clippers, Rockets and maybe even the Warriors are contenders now. I liked the Scola/Watson additions, and you can't underestimate the worth of Larry Legend's return karma. But they're not going to seriously contend unless they can flip Danny Granger's expiring into one more asset. Jalen went on that Philippines trip and came away thinking Granger was D-U-N done. What's your ideal Granger trade?
Zach: I just don't think there's a killer deal out there. I mean, you'd want a wing player with some shot-creation juice — what they thought they were getting in Gerald Green, basically — but there's just not a big market for an expiring deal linked to a player in decline. You're not getting a first-round pick, and the Pacers can't just swallow someone's unwanted long-term salary — not with well over $60 million already committed for next season (and Lance Stephenson due a new contract). You can find some workable deals, but not many that move the needle for Indy.
Bill: So I guess you're not biting on my "Gerald Wallace and Courtney Lee for Granger's expiring" idea.
Zach: You don't want to make the Legend mad, do you?