Indiana Pacers: Are the Struggles Due to Granger's Absence?

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IINovember 5, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 3: Marcus Thornton #23 of the Sacramento Kings battles for the ball against Roy Hibbert #55 of the Indiana Pacers during the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on November 3, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers won 106-98 in double overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Indiana Pacers are at 2-1 to start the season. While this may sound like a promising start to most teams, this is a concern for the Pacers, since they have played three weaker opponents.

Indiana was able to beat the Toronto Raptors by two points, but lost to the lowly Charlotte Bobcats by a single point. On Saturday, the team escaped with a win against the Sacramento Kings in double overtime.

These close games against weak opponents are cause for some concern. With some tougher games approaching, including a game against the San Antonio Spurs, the Pacers must shake off this rust that has collected over the offseason.

With the team struggling like this, one question comes to mind.

Are the Pacers this significantly worse off without Danny Granger?

The answer appears to be yes.

Granger will be out indefinitely with a knee injury. The Pacers have begun to find ways to play without him, but his production seems to be missed already. Granger averaged 18.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.  

If the Pacers want to continue to win without Granger, Gerald Green will need to step up and contribute. Green was picked up by the Pacers this offseason. He recently played in Russia and the D-league, but showed promise in New Jersey last year.

Green showed signs that he could step up on Saturday against the Kings. He was able to score 17 points and grab two steals. He shot six for nine, which was a major improvement from the previous two games.

If Green continues to struggle for a while, Paul George and Roy Hibbert will have to play at their best 100 percent of the time. They are both great players, but if they begin to struggle or get hurt, it could be a big problem for the Pacers.

At this point, at least the Pacers are 2-1. If Green can produce well enough, the absence of Granger could be less of a problem. At the moment, however, the Pacers need to be a bit concerned.