For the Indiana Pacers to be just average, Danny Granger has to be miles above average. And lately he has been — shooting 49% (eight points above his season average) in his last five games, and he has two 30 point outbursts in that time.
But Granger — maybe the league’s most underrated player — is doing it with a very heavy heart due to a family issue, he told the Indianapolis Star.
“I didn’t think things would be this bad, but adversity always will make you stronger regardless if it’s in basketball or in your personal life,” he said. “It’ll make me stronger and I’ll deal with it and I’ll move on….”
“Sometimes basketball can be considered a release for you, but when you have something weighing on you so heavy, I zone out at times,” Granger said. “Basketball is what I do, but a lot of things are more important. When you’re dealing with stuff with your family, it takes a toll on you mentality. It takes a lot to recover.”
Granger has declined to make public the problem, saying only that it will take time to heal. This is just the latest in what has been a very long season for Granger and the Pacers, as he has fought of foot injuries and the team has struggled mightily on the court due largely to an offense challenged to score points. (They want to be a running team, but they lack quality ball handlers, a minor problem with the plan.)
Tonight it doesn’t get any easier facing the Lakers in Los Angeles, just the start of a tough West Coast road swing.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.
After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.
So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?
Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.
The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.
Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.